Hawke’s Bay opts for five councils

Date: 15 September 2015

The Hawke’s Bay community has voted against amalgamation of its five councils in a poll to be officially confirmed by Friday.

The progress results declared by the electoral officer today show a 66 per cent vote against the proposal. Official confirmation of the result, expected by Friday 18 September, will bring an end to the process and the status quo will prevail: Hawke’s Bay will retain its five separate councils.

Commission Chair Sir Wira Gardiner acknowledged those involved on all sides of the debate for the commitment and energy with which the issues were discussed.

“The Hawke’s Bay community has made an important decision on its local government arrangements.

“While the region has decided against formal amalgamation of its five councils, many of those opposed to the proposal agreed that much more can and must be done to work together to achieve permanent, positive and effective change,’’ Sir Wira said.

“Hawke’s Bay has huge economic potential and everything to gain through improved delivery of cost-effective services and infrastructure – more jobs, better growth, and improved prospects across all sectors of the community for the people of Hawke’s Bay.

“The region now has the opportunity to capitalise on the energy and ideas the reorganisation process has generated.

“The Commission will remain available, if required, to assist Hawke’s Bay thinking about local government options into the future,’’ Sir Wira said.


The poll was the culmination of a local government reorganisation process that began with an application for amalgamation by A Better Hawke’s Bay trust to the Local Government Commission in February 2013. The main steps along the way included:

  • Feb-Oct 2013: The Local Government Commission calls for alternative proposals and meets a wide range of interest groups, subject matter experts and members of the Hawke’s Bay public
  • Nov 2013: The Commission releases a draft proposal for a single council for the region
  • Nov 2013-June 2014: More than 700 submissions received and public hearings held in Hawke’s Bay
  • Nov 2014: The Commission releases a position paper with revisions to the draft proposal following consultation and law changes allowing for local boards. It proposes a single council with one mayor, 18 councillors, and five local boards each consisting of two councillors and six to nine members elected from subdivisions.
  • Mar 2015: The Commission publishes a pamphlet summarising proposed changes in the position paper and setting out what will happen to each council’s debt and assets during the transition to one council.
  • Mar 2015: Colmar Brunton conducts a survey of 2000 residents across Hawke’s Bay and some face-to-face interviews.
  • June 2015: Local Government Commission issues its final proposal.
  • June 2015: A petition for a poll is received and validated, and a poll date set for 15 September. 


Read the Public opinion on the proposed Hawke’s Bay council amalgamation: Summary of March-April 2015 Colmar Brunton Survey