Tom Belford

Mike Williams on the stupidity of Peter Butler

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams has been having a blinder these past few weeks.

Of course, he has been helped by the stupidity of Hawkes Bay local body candidates or outgoing mayors.

It’s obvious that the retiring Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor, Peter Butler, doesn’t read my weekly musings in Hawke’s Bay Today.

Had he bothered to do so he would have known that a powerful factor in local election success is name recognition.

Not long ago there was reference to the fact that when voters are confronted with long lists of candidates they will very often opt for a name they know.

Peter Butler’s attempt to make sitting regional councillor Tom Belford reveal his email and telephone records for a 17day period last month amounts to a timely and very valuable gift to Councillor Belford.

It put him on the front page of Hawke’s Bay Today just when the Hawke’s Bay electors are filling in their voting papers.

It’s hard to comprehend what possessed Mayor Butler.

His “official request” for Tom Belford’s telephone and email traffic was never going to be fulfilled before the local polls closed and even if this showed Mr Belford communicated with all of the people and organisations on Butler’s list, who cares?

It would only demonstrate that Councillor Belford was doing his job.

Peter Butler would not comment on why he had requested the information. We can only suppose that he’s a secret supporter of Tom Belford.

The Hawke’s Bay local elections are more interesting than those going on in Auckland.

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Ratbag councillor stirring when she has skeletons in her own closet


Cynthia Bowers is well known to regular readers of the blog. She’s been nominated for her dodgy behaviour before.

She is also a councillor who likes to say one thing in public and quite another thing in other circumstances.

Instead of answering valid questions about her own dodgy Horse of the year projects and the corporate welfare granted secretly by the council to a water bottling plant, she is instead chucking dirt over three of the most ethical councillors in the region.

The regional councillors representing Hastings are being called on to be more transparent about the funders of their re-election campaigns.

To provide voters with transparency in the local body elections, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council candidate Cynthia Bowers is calling for all candidates to disclose donations received, citing the 2013 election donations of her opponents for the Hastings ward.

In response, councillors Rick Barker, Tom Belford, and Rex Graham have blasted Ms Bowers for insulting their integrity. ? Read more »

Quelle surprise, ratbag councillor says one thing in public does quite another privately

Hawkes Bay Regional Councillor Cynthia Bowers is a piece of work.

She has featured on WOBH before as nominee for Dodgiest Local Body Politician.

She is also a supporter of the Dodgy Socialist Dam.

So it is no surprise to find out her socialism extends to voting in secret to support a water bottling company when she publicly opposes them.

Hastings’ deputy mayor is being accused of a flip-flop on her stance on water now that she is standing for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

In a statement to Hawke’s Bay Today, Hawke’s Bay Regional councillor Tom Belford called for current Hastings deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers to “come clean on her history of support for water bottling in Hawke’s Bay”.

“As she seeks to re-invent herself as an environmental candidate for this campaign, Councillor Bowers has turned a political about-face, declaring she is now opposed to water bottling,” he said. “Maybe she will stand fast with that position, maybe not.”

“Now more than ever, voters need to know who they can trust on water issues. My record on water bottling is clear, consistent and unwavering. Her record is not.” ? Read more »

Pressure building over dodgy socialist dam

Pressure is building over the dodgy socialist dam being proposed by the dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council.

Four councillors, fed up with being kept in the dark and the public being kept in the dark, have embarked on a series of public meetings to inform ratepayers what their council have been up to.

It has become rather testy.

Calls for resignations were levelled at HBRIC board members at last night’s Ruataniwha Dam meeting.

The forum, the first of a series of four such discussions, was the hottest ticket in Hastings, with more than 250 people turning up. HBRIC board members Andy Pearce, Jim Scotland and Sam Robinson were also in attendance.

Organised by Tom Belford, Rex Graham, Rick Barker and Peter Beaven at Karamu High School, the regional councillors started the conversation.

Mr Graham made it clear that while it supported water storage, it was the role of the council to support and encourage private farmers’ investment and not frustrate it.

“In fact, our job is to be the regulator and insure that our rivers and streams are safe and that our farming industry, which is so important to us, works in harmony with our environment,” he said.

Mr Belford focused on the potential environmental ramifications of such an undertaking.

“Before looking at any water storage scheme the regional council should first demonstrate that it can and will ensure a cleaner, safer river by reducing nutrients and more substantially increasing flows,” he said.

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Dodgy Socialist Dam public meetings

Fenton "Jong-un" Wilson

What? They are holding a public meeting? What? more than one?

Fenton ?Jong-Un? Wilson will be having the shits with the rebel councillors and wishing he had an anti-aircraft gun to deal with them.

Press Release

17 February 2016

Hastings/Ngaruroro Regional Councillors Set Public Forums

Regional Councillors Barker, Beaven, Belford and Graham today announce they have scheduled four public forums throughout Hawke?s Bay in March to discuss water storage in HB and the proposed Ruataniwha Dam. ? Read more »

Dodgy socialist dam doesn’t stack up

Regular readers will?know that I am opposed to?the?Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

It is one of the more outrageous council projects proposed in recent history. If you thought the residents of Kaipara were hard done by with the out-of-control sewage scheme then you haven’t being paying close attention to the shenanigans with the Hawkes Bay Regional Council.

The business case is rooted, it never made sense and there is no way the Council can protect the river with the current nutrient overhead. Tom Belford comprehensively explains where the project is flawed.

Ever since HBRC and its development company (HBRIC) first started trumpeting predictions of bountiful jobs and GDP growth from the proposed dam back in 2012, advocates of the project have eagerly awaited the Dam Fairy and her magic wand.

However, a closer look at the consultant work that underpinned those claims reveals: 1) how carefully guarded those claims were, even back then; and 2) how significantly the real world has changed since then, leaving many of the original key farm profitability and macro-economic assumptions in the dust.

Significant CHB and regional economic benefit has always been one of two pillars of the asserted case for the dam – and importantly, given as the key justification for a $80 million ratepayer investment in the scheme to the neglect of other priorities.

The second pillar is the claim of environmental improvement. I believe the dam will in fact cause further degradation of the catchment, but that’s an argument for another day.

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Is the Ruataniwha dam stuffed?

You’d think so with all the losses in court and the board of inquiry for the promotors.

The Conservation land issue can’t ever be resolved and so the financial rationale behind the dam is dodgy. So much so that deadlines are being missed.

A Hawke’s Bay regional councillor, Tom Belford, says its still uncertain whether the business case for the Ruataniwha Dam can be completed by Christmas.

But Mr Belford said after a briefing from the council’s investment company HBRIC on Wednesday it was clear there were at least three major hurdles that have to be overcome.

He said the economics of the project depends on having a certain amount of presold water to provide cashflow to investors and he said no additional water has been sold in past 60 days.

“And so HBRIC, our holding company, has projections which they keep bringing forward claiming that they will in fact meet the magic number which is now about 47 million cubic metres of water but we’ve only sold 20 million.

“Whether they can sell enough in the deadlines that they are giving themselves which is to meet that goal by mid-November and then move from there to full financial closure by the end of the year seems to me pretty dubious.” ?? Read more »

A Good Councillor – Tom Belford

Most of our elected representatives only get publicity for doing something stupid or dodgy or that makes us laugh.

Local government is populated with fools, idiots and their fellow travellers. So when a councillor shows a bit of inspiration they need our thanks and some positive publicity.

Councillor Tom Belford of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council shows the kind of sensible approach to politics that we need more of from our councillors. The extremely dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council staff have given non-notifiable consents to two great big water bottling plants.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council member Tom Belford sent protesters packing – to a colleague’s house.

The chanting group with placards were voicing concern on Saturday about the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s handling of the Heretaunga Plains aquifer. ?? Read more »

Same report, different stories

Last Friday the Board of Inquiry issued their draft?report into the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. It is unchanged from?the previous?draft report, and essentially kills off the dam because the proposal was so flawed in the first place, environmentally and financially.

Not so you’d notice though. The HB Today on Saturday heralded the report as the next step in getting the dam through.

The promoters of the Ruataniwha dam say a draft board of inquiry decision released today is a “major positive milestone” for the Central Hawke’s Bay irrigation scheme.

The board’s latest decision – amending a handful of resource consent conditions for the scheme and to a related plan change for the Tukituki catchment – follows a High Court challenge to the board’s earlier decision, issued last year.

The challenges – from Fish & Game, Forest & Bird, and the Environmental Defence Society – related to the board’s approach to the management of nitrogen in surface waters within the Tukituki catchment.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company, the commercial arm of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the promoter of the Ruataniwha scheme, said today’s decision indicated the board of inquiry intended to grant what HBRIC believed would be “useable production land use consent conditions for the RWSS”.

Obtaining a “workable environmental consent” from the board of inquiry is one of four conditions required by the regional council to satisfy a planned investment of up to $80 million of ratepayers’ money in the scheme.

Of course the HB Today is owned by the same company that owns The NZ Herald so we can’t expect too much, you know like, comprehension. On the one hand the HBRIC claims victory from an unchanged report on environmental protections. But Forest & Bird claims vindication for their High Court challenge. ? Read more »

Is the Dodgy Socialist Dam Rooted?

Fenton "Jong-un" Wilson

Fenton “Jong-un” Wilson

Councillor Tom Belford of the extremely dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council went along to see the Board of Inquiry give the council staff and contractors a good clip around the ears.

Yesterday the Tukituki Board of Inquiry (BOI) rejected HBRC?s proposed approach to addressing the river?s water quality, and in so doing, dealt a major ? perhaps fatal ? body blow to HBRIC?s proposed dam.

Not a real surprise, as HBRC and its slow-learning legal and planning advisers were simply trying to end-run a position the BOI was already committed to (and a position affirmed by the High Court).

Slow learning council staff suggests that if the current five socialist councillors who are supporting the dam don?t survive the next election there might be some ritual sacrifice of useless staff. The staff have been hammered repeatedly from the time they had to contest their ideas with a referee, rather than being able to bully stakeholders. ? Read more »