Hawke’s Bay voters have overwhelmingly rejected plans to amalgamate the region’s five councils into a single body that would have become the country’s fourth-largest local authority.
The Local Government Commission’s proposal to create a single Hawke’s Bay Council was opposed by about two-thirds of voters who took part in a binding poll that closed at noon on Tuesday.
Electoral officer Warwick Lampp said that, with about 97 per cent of the vote counted on Tuesday afternoon, 66.2 per cent were against the amalgamation proposal, and 33.5 per cent were in favour.
This is not a surprise, but is disappointing. Napier and Hastings are just 20 kms away from each other, but the traditional rivalries were too much to overcome.
Polling had shown that while voters in Hastings were in favour, there was strong opposition in Napier, and the rural areas.