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Hawke’s Bay amalgamation proposal to proceed

Date: 9 June 2015

The Local Government Commission has issued a final proposal for reorganising Hawke’s Bay local government.

That proposal is to establish a single new council for Hawke’s Bay, called Hawke’s Bay Council, with five local boards sharing decision making and representing the interests of the region’s varied communities.  If implemented, it will replace the Napier City, Wairoa District, Hastings District and Central Hawke’s Bay District, and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils.  This final proposal has been issued following an extensive process.

“In Hawke’s Bay there is community support for reorganising Hawke’s Bay local government. That is one of the main reasons our decision on this application is different to those we have made in Wellington and Northland,’’ says Commission Chair Basil Morrison.

“Different regions have different local government requirements. We believe the final proposal will promote good local government and is in the best interests of Hawke’s Bay.

“In the Commission’s view, a single Hawke’s Bay Council will enable local government to be delivered in a more effective and efficient manner to address the issues and opportunities the region faces,’’ Mr Morrison said.

“We encourage people in Hawke’s Bay to read the final proposal which sets out the reasons for our decision in detail.’’

The Commission has worked hard and listened carefully before issuing its final proposal, says Commission chief executive Sandra Preston.

 “It is now up to the people of Hawke’s Bay to have further input into whether or not this final proposal goes ahead. They can ask for a poll to vote on it if they wish.’’

A poll can be requested if 10% of electors in any affected area, such as Napier City or Wairoa District, sign a petition seeking one.

“Results of a poll are binding and require a simple majority for or against the final proposal to determine the outcome,’’ said Ms Preston. 


The process for local government reorganisations under the Local Government Act 2002 is:

  • Individuals, organisations or the Minister of Local Government can apply to the Commission for reorganisation of local government
  • The Commission assesses if there is evidence of community support for reorganisation
  • If accepted, there is public notification of the application, including a call for alternative applications
  • The Commission identifies options for change, chooses a preferred option and develops a draft proposal
  • The draft proposal is subject to submissions and a series of hearings
  • If the Commission decides to proceed, it issues a final proposal. Otherwise it can choose to end the process, or identify a new draft proposal for consultation
  • If requested by the community, a poll on the final proposal can be held
  • Electors have 60 working days to sign a petition seeking a poll
  • The number of signatures required to trigger a poll is 10 per cent of registered electors in any affected area – for example, within any of the existing council boundaries
  • A poll would take place around three months after the Commission verifies the petition
  • If no poll is requested or the poll shows support for the proposal, the reorganisation scheme is implemented

The Local Government Commission has been considering three local government applications under the Local Government Act 2002. In Hawke’s Bay the application was from a local stakeholder group, A Better Hawkes Bay. In Northland, the application was from the Far North District Council and in Wellington the Commission was asked to consider two applications:  the first from the three Wairarapa Councils seeking to amalgamate and establish a unitary authority, and the second, wider, application from the Wellington Regional Council seeking a Single Unitary Authority for the whole region. The Commission prepared draft proposals for reorganisation in each region, received submissions on the proposals and held hearings in each region. A Final Proposal has now been issued in Hawke’s Bay. 

The Commission’s ability to return to communities after submissions and hearings and seek other options for change is provided for in clause 21 in schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002.