Handful of ratepayers shun HB advances

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 28/02/2014

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Rangitikei District Council is opposing a move to include a handful of its ratepayers in a proposed super Hawke's Bay Council.

The Local Government Commission is considering a plan to create a single council, called Hawke's Bay Council, for the entire Hawke's Bay region. It would replace the various district, city and regional councils currently in place.

A small area of the north-eastern Rangitikei District already sits under the auspices of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, unlike the rest of the district which is governed by Horizons Regional Council.

It is this area, accessible via the Taihape-Napier Road, that would leave Rangitikei if the plan went ahead.

Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson said meetings with the landowners affected by the proposal had shown they were dead against leaving Rangitikei.

They wanted to stay in Rangitikei "even though they're closer to the Hawke's Bay, they do their shopping in the Hawke's Bay and they have some schooling links with Hawke's Bay", he said.

Mr Watson said the affected ratepayers had told him they valued the services they received from the council, in particular the sealing of the Napier-Taihape road.

This project was largely funded by Rangitikei District Council and the council's submission to Local Government NZ calls for a yet to be calculated amount of financial compensation for its work on the road if the proposal goes ahead.

The submission said the area affected has been connected with the Rangitikei ever since 1920 when it was transferred from the authority of the Hawke's Bay County Council to the Rangitikei County Council.

This happened "in accordance with the wishes of the farmers in the area", the submission said.

"In the meetings which the council has conducted over recent weeks with people living or owning land in the affected area, there has not been any support for the change."

The submission said people in the area felt a strong link with the Rangitikei District and asked that they remained a part of it.

If the proposed new authority in Hawke's Bay went ahead the submission asked for Horizons Regional Council to become the regional council for the area, as it was for the rest of the Rangitikei District.

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- Manawatu Standard

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