The Bill & Yuley Show

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Aw geez… Here we go again!

Last week Hastings District Council released a promotional campaign they had been working on, along with Business Hawke’s Bay, Food Hawke’s Bay and HB Winegrowers called “Hawke’s Bay – Great Things Grow Here”

The scheme is designed, we were told, as a resource to attract businesses to move to and trade with our great little region – Hawke’s Bay. There was only one slightly major flaw – Hastings apparently didn’t ask anyone else to be part of this “Hawke’s Bay Region” promotion. In fact, if you like what the scheme offers, the only “Key Contacts” on the website are Hastings District Council, Business Hawke’s Bay, Food Hawke’s Bay and HB Winegrowers. No one else. Not Napier City Council. Not Hawke’s Bay Regional Council – no one!

This concerns me. Not from the perspective of HDC going at a project like this alone, as HB councils have been doubling up on ideas and services for years, but that BHB, FHB and HBWG (all based at the EIT Campus in Napier) happily went along with it. Business Hawke’s Bay is tasked with the economic development of the WHOLE Hawke’s Bay Region. So why didn’t anyone sitting in their Napier offices say “Um, hey, shouldn’t we involve EVERYONE in this?”

Hastings Mayor, Local Government New Zealand Chairman and staunch Hawke’s Bay amalgamationalist, Lawrence Yule further stoked flames of antagonism by saying:

“Until there has been a change in approach in Napier City Council we will never do any of this type of stuff with them” (But later claimed this was meant in a “historical sense”(???))

“Our council made the decision to just get on and do it.”

He might as well have said “It’s MY amalgamated Hawke’s Bay Empire and if you don’t play by MY rules, I’m taking bat and ball and going home!”

Naturally, Napier Mayor and equally as staunch ANTI-amalgamationalist fired his own shots back on his blog and in the local paper, claiming “Great Things Grow Here” was produced in secret and all part of Yule’s amalgamation plans.

Yule refutes this – saying: “Preparing this video has absolutely nothing to do with any push for amalgamation. It was simply to help businesses in the region, to get more jobs and to help us market ourselves in getting those businesses.”

But his approach and reasoning seem quite flimsy.

If he was indeed intent on promoting ALL of Hawke’s Bay as a great location for business to relocate surely he would have involved ALL of Hawke’s Bay local bodies, promotional agencies and a few businesses, rather than focusing on how it could benefit just his own council.

By going it alone in this project Yule has merely exacerbated the problem and perceived lack of coordination and cooperation between HB councils, playing up to the concept of an amalgamated Hawke’s Bay council being the panacea for all such issues. He needs to put old ideologies, rivalries and grudges aside and work in the here, the now and for the future of the whole Hawke’s Bay region.

If Hawke’s Bay is to pull itself out of its current doldrums, successfully evolve into a regional economic success story and move into the future, it can’t be with all this one-upmanship, sniping and negativity between its leaders.

It’s tit for tat. It’s schoolyard squabbling. It’s pathetic and it’s harming Hawke’s Bay.

IF there is to be any form of Hawke’s Bay amalgamation in the future (and it’s becoming a bigger and bigger “if” and more and more distant future), surely neither Napier nor Hastings’ current mayors can be part of it, or certainly at the head of it if current attitudes and agendas continue.

Meanwhile we ratepayers just keep paying their wages…

Napier, Hastings and ALL OF HAWKE’S BAY deserve better!

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