New Zealands Dodgiest Local Body Politician Award – Cynthia Bowers HBRC

Cynthia-BowersRegular readers will know that the totally incompetent Hawkes Bay Regional Council is responsible for the debacle that is the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. This has wasted vast amounts of ratepayers money and is not even close to at the end of the legal action that it has attracted. So you would think that the people of Hawkes Bay would want people who are staunch fiscal conservatives and good money managers.

Instead, they are getting the chance to vote for former Hastings District Councillor Cynthia Bowers. Those who don’t know Cynthia need to be aware of her dreadful performance as the Chair of the loss-making Horse of the Year. Rather than run an event within budget she was responsible for a massive loss and had to go on the bludge to the ratepayers of Hastings to bail her pet project out.

An independent review of the business carried out after this year’s loss concluded the company was undercapitalised.

It said the council’s annual contribution – which doubled last year to $70,000 – remained well below the ratio of support given to comparable events in other cities.  

At a meeting on Tuesday, the majority of councillors agreed. They voted in favour of making a one-off injection of $170,000 to bolster the company’s balance sheet, and to increase the annual sponsorship to $120,000.

Undercapitalised or an event that can never pay its own way?

At Whaleoil we know a whitewash when we see one, and there is so much whitewash on this report it would be surprising if the whole council chambers were painted as well.

Why don’t the competitors and the spectators pay more? Why should the ratepayer have to fund these people’s hobby?

Apparently according to the troughing Cynthia Bowers “HOY Future Bright Despite Loss”

Cr Bowers glosses over the losses and tries to say that we should all ignore her mismanagement of the HOY financials.

In spite of the loss, the board is satisfied that SMC has made a positive impact on the event. For example, the positive satisfaction rating by competitors has risen from 66 per cent in 2015 to 92 per cent this year. With 12 months’ HOY experience under their belts and good stakeholder support we are confident SMC will make a success of next year’s show. They have already sold more than 70 per cent of the trade sites for 2017.

So the metric of success is people being satisfied with the event? Of course, people are satisfied if they don’t have to pay the full cost of competing.

Just imagine how great it could be if negativity was cast aside and we all worked together to look to the future and to capitalise on the opportunity that is being offered to the region.

No Cynthia, just imagine if a competent chair of the HOY had actually managed the budget properly, and not gone on the bludge after the event to cover up the financial shortfall that you are ultimately responsible for.


  • HB Today, Fairfax
  • hookerphil

    The 5 comments to the full article are very telling, especially the involvement of the outfit that was involved in the Christchurch Flower Show and other money draining events “run” by Councils.
    Certainly appears a very worthy recipient of her nomination.

  • logic10

    She must be a supporter of the dam.

  • Taradalien

    I’m determined not to vote for anyone who supports the dam, but I’ll tell you it’s not that easy to find definitive information on how the candidates stand on the issue.

    Or, to be fair, on anything else. I’ve never seen an election in HB where the respective candidates (Council and well as Regional Council) have been as anonymous. What do any of these people actually stand for? The local rag, now part of the Herald stable, is next to useless in telling us.

    If anyone can uncover anything there’s a virtual chocolate fish in it.

    • biscuit barrel

      Forone of the 3 the hastings ward seats on the RC, there is a ring in from Waipukarau who stood and lost in that ward last time. No need to guess that he will probably waffle about the dam but vote for it ?
      Ms Bowers shows her long ( 21 years on city council) by saying
      “”must be more bold and visionary in terms of safe-guarding our environment and in listening to the aspirations and needs of constituents”, I bet she will be hard to pin down, which you can read into that the necessary conclusions.

      • Damon Mudgway

        Good point bb. In other words Ms Bowers has become adept in the dark art of being absolutely brilliant at nothing at all, while still receiving a paycheck. A little like being on the dole I guess.

  • F T Bear

    I suspect she has had the word or maybe is just smart enough to see the writing about the HDC , but if she will vote for the dam on the HBRC she will get my vote.