The 18 September 2015 publication of the final poll result (66% against , 34% in support, rounded) for the Hawke’s Bay amalgamation proposal confirmed the status quo would prevail and concluded the Commission’s formal process.
In its media release Commission Chair Sir Wira Gardiner acknowledged Hawke’s Bay people had made an important decision on its local government arrangements and commended the commitment and energy with which the community had participated in the debate. He noted that while the region had 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’’.
Subsequent media reports indicated a renewed commitment by all four Hawke’s Bay Mayors and the Regional Council Chair to work together. Sir Wira expressed a willingness to visit Hawke’s Bay leaders to hear their views and discuss ways in which the Commission might be able to offer practical assistance as they investigate the delivery of more cost-effective services and infrastructure.
A number of joint meetings were subsequently held with local government leaders. These were welcomed and deemed constructive by all parties.
On 9 June 2015, the Local Government Commission issued a final proposal for reorganising Hawke’s Bay local government.
That proposal was 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 would replace the Napier City, Wairoa District, Hastings District and Central Hawke’s Bay District, and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils.
On 11 June 2015, a valid demand for a poll on the final proposal was received by the Commission.
In early 2013, an application was received by the Local Government Commission from ‘A Better Hawke’s Bay’ for the union of the districts of Wairoa, Napier, Hastings and Central Hawkes Bay and the constitution of a new local authority for the combined area called Hawke’s Bay Council. The new local authority would assume the responsibilities and functions currently held by the existing territorial authorities for these four districts and of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council which would also be abolished.
The Commission decided that the “affected area” for the application was the four districts identified as well as the parts of Taupo and Rangitikei districts currently in Hawke’s Bay Region. It also decided that the application, along with further information provided by the applicant, met the statutory requirements for the application to be accepted and assessed.
The Commission then went through the following required processes: