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Parliamentary Commissioner to review fracking

March 28, 2012

NZ’s environmental watchdog, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, announced today that her office will conduct an official investigation into fracking. Here’s her full statement: Initial scoping work being done on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has been stepped up to an official investigation. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, says the […]


Campaign against local government

March 27, 2012

We have not been shy about criticizing our local bodies on this blog or in Baybuzz magazine. However, if I might make an important distinction, those criticisms have been about priorities, the soundness of individual projects and policies, suitability of governance structure to plan and spend efficiently, and the frequent avoidance of public accountability — […]


New reorganisation rules affect Hawke’s Bay

March 20, 2012

The Government announced policy changes on Monday that will make it easier for proponents of local government reorganisation to initiate reform. Most important are these changes … 1. The Local Government Commission (LGC), which reviews and recommends reorganisation initiatives, will be required to “consider the benefits of a reform proposal for simplifying planning processes”. As […]


Worms to rescue waterway?

March 19, 2012

The CHB Council is (inch)worming its way toward progress in cleaning up its sewage discharge into the Tukituki. On Tuesday the Council will hold a special session to consider replacing its proposed ‘effluent to land’ sewage treatment scheme with a less expensive scheme that would discharge substantially cleaner effluent into the Tukituki … using worm […]


Laugh or cry?

March 15, 2012

The Central Hawke’s Bay District Council announced on Thursday that they were “putting on hold” their plans for a land-based “sewerage” (their spelling) treatment programme for Waipawa and Waipukurau! Here is the full announcement. CHB just filed its consent application for this scheme at the end of 2011. The public submission window closed on 29 […]


Budgeting on a ‘best guess’ basis

March 12, 2012

Local councils — not just in Hawke’s Bay, but throughout NZ it appears — can’t calculate. Or more precisely, they’re hopelessly inept at doing the cost-benefit analysis on their major infrastructure projects. And as a result, ratepayers are always left holding the bag. The latest evidence comes from Hamilton, where, as the Herald reported today, […]


March/April BayBuzz published

March 11, 2012

Our latest BayBuzz mag is available this week at your favourite pick-up point. Subscribers will have received yours already. You can view a digital version of the mag, exactly as published, via our online reader. The major theme of this edition is Hawke’s Bay’s local governance, and the politics and issues surrounding possible change. Kathy […]