Hawke's Bay vote polarises region

Hawke's Bay vote polarises region

Ratepayers in Hawke's Bay have rejected a proposal to amalgamate its five councils.

The debate has polarised the region, with one Mayor strongly in favour and three against.

There were celebrations from the no camp in Napier this afternoon, as Mayor Bill Dalton gave his staff the good news.

"I think it's a fantastic result," says Mr Dalton.

But there was disappointment for the proposal's leading supporter, Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.

The three-week postal poll finished at midday today, with the first progress result released at 4pm showing 45,000 against amalgamation and 23,000 in favour.

The proposal was to merge five local authorities, replacing Napier City Council, Central Hawke's Bay, Hastings and Wairoa District Councils and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Around 159,000 people in the region would have been governed under a single super council called the Hawke's Bay Council, with one Mayor, 18 councillors and four local boards.

The idea was first proposed in 2013 by a group called A Better Hawke's Bay, which was frustrated by the lack of regional vision and leadership.

But those opposed say the region is far too big to merge and smaller communities would be neglected.

But Mr Dalton says the current system does need to change, just not this way.

Watch the video for the full 3 News report.