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The people of Hawke’s Bay have spoken and they have said ‘NO’ to Amalgamation.

Wairoa Mayor, Craig Little, says he is “absolutely delighted and that he’s shocked by the complete rejection of the amalgamation proposal by the people of Hawke’s Bay”.

“In my mind, this finally puts an end to the amalgamation debate and now we need to move forward together as a region, and get on with the business of serving the people of Wairoa and Hawke’s Bay”, says Mr Little.

“I’m so thrilled with this result. I knew that the people of Hawke’s Bay would see sense and vote this proposal down and I just want to acknowledge each and every person who voted. It was so important that this decision came down to the people of Hawke’s Bay and they have sent a clear message; that local government needs to remain local.”

“This has been a really trying year with this amalgamation cloud over our heads. We have had to put up with a really divisive campaign over the last few months and now it is time for our communities and our region to come together and to unite for the betterment of Hawke’s Bay.”

“I want to commend all our staff. They have had to endure this time of uncertainty and now we can move forward together.”

“What has really impressed me is how this proposal has galvanised our region and our communities. This result is so great, and the returns from the voting are just impressive. I want to celebrate my own district with over 66% voter turnout, the highest across the region. I’m so pleased that the people of Wairoa responded to this proposal and I’m so pleased they turned out to vote.”

“I was absolutely stunned at the money that has been poured into this campaign by ‘A Better Hawke’s Bay’ (ABHB) and their supporters. I suspect that hundreds of thousands of dollars has gone into this campaign. I sit here in complete shock, because I can only imagine what good that money could have done if invested into our communities.”

“To have this proposal forced upon us by the Local Government Commission and to have the people of Hawke’s Bay reject it has completely vindicated my view that this was all an absolute and complete waste of time and money.”

“I was also disappointed by some of the comments leveled at me, our Council and Wairoa. People painting a picture of Wairoa as a dying community. I don’t subscribe to that view and I can clearly see that the people of Wairoa don’t subscribe to that view either. The ‘Wairoa Against Amalgamation’ group was widely regarded as having the best campaign of all the groups dealing with the amalgamation issue (for or against). This was a group of concerned Wairoa residents, with little to no financial support and look what they achieved.”

“The very fact that Wairoa voters showed the greatest level of interest in this issue shows that our community is both passionate and engaged – which bodes very well for an ever-strengthening Wairoa outlook. Regardless of everything that has been said and done, we can now put that all behind us and move forward together.”

“The people of Wairoa and Hawke’s Bay have spoken, they have sent a clear message to the LGC, to central government and to the region’s leaders. We need to ensure we keep services local but at the same time move forward together as a region.”

“Now is the time to come together, to unite. We need to always remember the proud and unique identities held so firmly by our various communities, from the north in Wairoa all the way to the south in Central Hawke’s Bay. But at the same time, we need to bring together and unify all those common qualities that make us a strong region, that make us proud to be Hawke’s Bay.”

5 July 2016

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