About 70,000 electors in the region are voting in a postal ballot which officially closes at midday today on whether the five councils are amalgamated into one. An indicative result should be available later this afternoon.
The mayor of Napier, Bill Dalton, is opposed to it, while the mayor of Hastings, Lawrence Yule, supports it. As can be seen above, the small (in population but large in area) Wairoa council also opposes it.
The critics of Yule’s position say this is because of sizable debt notched up by his council while Napier finances are healthy.
The problems with council amalgamation are the same everywhere — lots more expensive bureaucracy with bureaucrats remote from the people they administer and much reduced local decision-making ability.