13 Jun 2015

Poll to decide Hawke's council merger

6:33 am on 13 June 2015

A poll will be held to decide whether people living in Hawke's Bay want the region's councils to be amalgamated.

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Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

The poll was triggered after a petition was received and validated by the Local Government Commission, which is proposing a single new council for the region.

The Local Government Commission said the Hawke's Bay Council, with five local boards, would replace the Napier City, Wairoa District, Hastings District, Central Hawke's Bay District, and Hawke's Bay Regional Councils.

A petition was received from a group in support of the merge, A Better Hawke's Bay.

Group chair Rebecca Turner said the poll would ensure everyone had their say, and it believed people would support the move.

"We believe that amalgamating the councils is the best thing for the region, and the people of Hawke's Bay will vote yes when the time comes.

"Ensuring that good information is out there, so people can fully understand the benefits of amalgamation, will be our focus.

"One council will mean we can stop the constant duplication, in-fighting and waste of our ratepayer funds, and focus on growing the region and ensure Hawke's Bay residents get the best possible co-ordinated council services."

However, opponents of the proposal, including the group Hastings Against Amalgamation, are intending to campaign strongly against it.

Group founder Mike Butler said it had already conducted its own poll.

"We've already establised that there's 63 percent opposition region wide to amalgamation, so that's what we expect to happen with the vote, so I'm looking foward to the vote."

No date has been set for the poll, but if the majority vote against the proposal it will be thrown out.