These ‘issues’ statements are a summary of policy proposed at the Mayoral by-election 2 years ago. – if you want to know more, contact Stuart on or on mobile at 0224090 727

Questions posed by Hastings Business association 2017

  • Should you be elected, what are your priorities for the first six months in relation to the Hastings CBD?

Start implementing the plans the at the business community have promoted and supported. Have another look at the free parking issue., I am of the opinion that if you are going to consult over a change to any council activity that impacts on a sector such as free parking, then surely its important to carry out some comprehensive consultation with the sector groups. And don’t pay lip service to consultation. Manipulation of the process is totally unacceptable.

There is not a one size fits all and if the council had taken the time to talk through the real issues, they would have found that the residents were happy to pay for the parking through their rates, that the business community would have been happy to see a carefully managed free parking regime and that those same business people would and have come up with workable solutions.

One of the reasons a number of businesses opposed free parking was the abuse of the system by office workers and other businesses who don’t rely on passing traffic. Instead of letting these people abuse the system by playing ‘tag-parking and just rotating around parking spaces, introduce a policy of not letting cars park for more than one hour in any given block. If they just move a few spaces, then fine them.

Council need a comprehensive support package to help market the CBD. They are happy to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at commendable projects such as Horse of the year but seem to hesitate to back major marketing initiatives.

Council doesn’t have long-term plans they have long-term procrastination. Stop this silly nonsense and get some action on the CBD revitalisation. Pull some of the reports out of the archives dust them off and put them into action. Change zoning and get developers into a fast-tracked central city apartment development, get people living in the city, build a real vibe in the city. Revisit the 4-star hotel negotiations and get a hotel build in the city. If a third world city like Nukualofa in Tonga can get a quality hotel built, why is Hastings one of the only cities in NZ that has no hotel in its heart.

  • Do you support the updated CBD Plan that was approved at Hastings District Council last week?

Of course, I do support any positive development but why spend money on shifting a stage, putting more chairs and tables when most of the time the stage is empty, and the chairs are unoccupied or have undesirables lounging on them., Sound a bit harsh. Well maybe that is but to be truthful, the businesses in this town can’t wait another 10 years for real development to be done. A lot of this just smacks of a planner ‘fiddling while Rome burns’. My question to council and the business community is what do the retailers customers want?, what will really bring people into town how will we rebuild the business confidence and encourage these hard-working retailers to keep their shops open.

  • What do you see as the biggest issues facing Hastings CBD and what will you do to combat these issues should you be elected?

Get some legislation in place to get the beggars off the streets. There are some serious social issues that the wider community needs to address. The new government has promised employment reform, set some major targets for reducing unemployment, promised an increase in social housing and increasing opportunities for education.

More police on the streets will lead to safer communities. While these are issues for central government, they are also a responsibility of the council to advocate and bang on the minister’s doors to make sure Hastings get the support it needs. The government has promised billions if dollars in Economic development reforms and that should also be a high priority of this council to make sure we get a bigger slice of the cake, if we do, all those issues will have a positive impact of social health and business viability. You can’t make a dollar in the retail sector when the customers have no spending power.

If Government can deal with those issues, then the mayor and council have a responsibility to work alongside those reforms to ensure we get the benefits.

  • What is your vision for a vibrant CBD and what strategies will you put in place to achieve this?

A vibrant CBD is one where people want to be. Where there is life and vitality. Quite frankly, like most of the businesses in town, I’m over all this navel gazing and planning. We want action not fluffy words and pretty pictures. Seriously there are some brilliant plans that have been drawn up for CBD revitalisation over the years. And sadly, that’s all they are – just plans – just pretty pictures bearing no reality and bringing no tangible benefit to the community nor the town. Sounds a bit negative -maybe very negative. I can tell you I’m positive there is a way forward and that is enough of the hui and more doeey.

Let’s take these plans and put them into action. Let’s build a hotel, lets cover the mall, introduce the night markets, plant the trees, put pedestrian bridges between K-mart and the large format retail areas and let’s cut through the bloody red tape that does nothing but stifle the business community.

  • Why should our members give you their vote?

All of the above.

If you want to see real change, not another politician paying lip service to the needs of the community, not another politician coming up  with a whole lot of pretty meaningless slogans and promises just to get elected, Then vote for Stuart Perry. I’ve said right through this campaign that you deserve better – and you wont get that with the existing regime. You wont see any change with a Yule Clone and you wont see change without an experienced executive heading the team. This town need dynamic leadership, it needs vision that comes with 30 years of council and senior executive experience.

What you deserve is a lot better than that. You deserve support from your  councillors and I promise you I will give you that.


Tourism one sure way to grow business and jobs

Over the past decade, the visitor industry has boomed in New Zealand with almost 4.5 million international visitors last year and domestic visitors spend $39 million per day.

Through the work of regional tourism organisations, many of the visitors are attracted away from the ‘golden mile’ of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown out to the regions such as the Hawkes Bay.

The challenge for the Hastings district is to get a bigger slice of the visitor cake – more tourist dollars being spent in our region will strengthen existing businesses and grow new jobs.

There are plenty of ‘naysayers’ who will tell you that we don’t have the attractions to lure the visitors but look at what we actually do have.

We have natural features in abundance, Te Mata Peak, Waimarama, Clifton, the Tukituki valley, the Kawekas and Ruahines, Rivers and streams, trout and ocean fishing and incredible wildlife such as the Gannet Colonies. The best golf courses in New Zealand, man-made attractions like Splash Planet, public parks and gardens and the Hawkes Bay Opera House. We have a sports park that attracts international events and a strong cultural identity. This year’s Hawkes Bay marathon attracted 15,000 runners and support crew and 80% of those came from out of town.

The cycleways are amongst the best in the country, and wineries, cellar doors, cafes and restaurants, specialty destinations like the chocolate factory all deliver the best hospitality in the province.

What Hastings hasn’t done well for many years is to blow our own trumpet loudly enough. We have the support of Hawkes Bay tourism but we need to work alongside them to make sure we get a bigger slice of the cake!

So why the big thing about the visitor industry? Most will think that it is only the traditional ‘Tourism businesses’ that benefit, the motels, hotels and eateries. The truth is that the visitor dollar has an acknowledged multiplier of 7. In other words, the tourist dollar keeps on rolling right around the community. While tourists spend on visitor services, they don’t stop needing everyday items, they don’t stop needing clothing, pharmaceuticals, food, petrol etc. Their dollar has a direct impact right across our commercial sector.

But it goes further. The motelier buys paint for redecorating, the restaurant buys meat to feed the diners, the waitress buys petrol to get to work, the vintner gets the printer run off the labels, they all use accountants, plumbers, sparkies et al. You get the picture. The visitor dollar brought into the region has an impact right through our local economy. And I use the term visitor dollar for a reason. It is easy to identify the traditional perception of the ‘tourist’. The accent, the visible ethnicity, the rental campervan all identifying international visitors. The less visible but more valuable domestic visitor market includes families visiting the bay for their stunning summer holidays, coming to see Aunty Dolly for her 80th, the visiting sports teams trying to beat the mighty Bay, conventions and conferences and business visitors.

So that’s the market and considering the international visitors alone spent 14.5 BILLION DOLLARS in NZ last year, it’s easy to see how it can have such a positive impact on the economy. Currently one in every 10 jobs in Hawkes Bay is supported by tourism and visitors spend more than $604m a year in our region and 75% of that is from kiwis visiting our region.

I agree that airport growth is important as a key gateway into the province but our arterial routes are just as important. The vast majority of visitors are self-drive from another visitor destination. Years of talk about an international airport is a nice warm ‘fuzzy’, but New Zealand already has five active international airports and four others equipped to accept international flights. In comparison, greater Sydney has one international airport for the same population. The real key to our success is to make sure the visitor experience both at our gateway and at the attractions is amongst the best in the country to ensure that visitor numbers to Hastings continue to grow providing a great platform for business, jobs and the well-being of a financially strong community.

While tourism is only one opportunity for growth (and there are many) it is one we cannot afford to ignore any longer.

Our challenge is to work with our regional tourism organisation to get a bigger share for Hastings. We need to put the effort into enhancing our existing attractions and growing the potential opportunities to get the business flowing. I have said before that Hastings is the capital of Hawkes Bay, we just need to ‘capitalise’ on that.

Stuart Perry, a candidate for the Hastings Mayoralty has 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry.

Among the other issues they are crowing about is ‘addressing’ Coastal Erosion. Really? If LGNZ thinks that Hastings is ’leading the way’ in NZ for ‘looking at coastal erosion’, perhaps they should go out and talk to the residents who have watched their properties and homes erode away over the past 15 years. For many people along the coast, every time they have tried to deal with it, the resident’s efforts have been stymied.

The final telling comment is a quote from Mr Yule. He said that he had set up this process knowing that Hastings would be likely to get a good score.

Come on, that’s like the school kids writing their own reports!


On the campaign trail

The Water Conservation Order (WCO) was a hot topic for some out on the campaign trail. There is strong support for the WCO on the upper reaches of the Ngaruroro River but blanket ‘no’ where it affects the horticultural and viticulture industries. Water experts tell me that the water take from the rivers has no effect on the aquifers. It certainly is time to make the regions voice heard at the WCO hearings later this month.

The water issue is raised every time I stop and talk to people. That and a sense of anger at the current council for the lack of action.


Housing crisis –  is this an issue for council?

Repeating what I said two years ago, while I’m all for resolving the housing crisis and helping the homeless but for goodness sake, that’s what we pay our taxes for. It’s a central government responsibility not the ratepayers.

As a council, we can play our part and show our social responsibility but unless the funds are provided by central government our hands are tied – our residents and ratepayers cannot afford to tackle this alone.

We know the shortage of affordable and emergency housing is an issue in Hastings but when you hear phrases such as ‘council will soon consider plan changes’, ‘setting up forums to investigate and consider’, this only suggests we are going to get more of the same from this council.

Mayor Hazlehurst came up with all sorts of wonderful ideas at election time but you have to wonder why they weren’t put into practice in the past eight years she has been in council.

While it’s a central government responsibility, I am certain we all believe that there is a need to help address the housing shortage and converting inner-city buildings into apartments is a great idea. However, we must make sure they are of a high standard and not ‘emergency or budget’ accommodation. Wherever that has been tried elsewhere in the world, such projects have turned into inner-city slums.

Hastings has plenty of land designated for residential housing, there is plenty of space for new growth without compromising our horticultural land, so a considered mix of new homes with some ‘assisted’ housing paid by taxpayers (not ratepayers) will go a long way to alleviate the problem.

I’ve said before that boutique apartments will do wonders for the central city area revitalising the commercial precinct. But what we need is action, no forums and planning sessions. It’s like the water issue, all talk and no action. I’ll say it again, the ratepayers deserve better.

Ease the Rates Burden

Councils need alternative sources of revenue to lighten the burden on the ratepayers.

‘The discussion last week about one of the coalition parties’ proposal to redirect GST off tourism income is a great idea but councils need to think bigger and do more.’

‘In Australia the federal government has a mechanism to distribute to the States some of the GST collected through a formula that they are currently looking to revise. If the Aussies can do this, it can’t be that hard.’

‘Over the past 20 years, more and more responsibilities have been foisted onto to councils by central government and while funding out of Wellington dribbles in to council for a limited time, eventually it is left to the ratepayers to foot the total bill’. This shifting of central government responsibilities onto local councils is one of the root causes of increased staffing. For Hastings District Council, staff wages have nearly tripled since 2003 and exceeded $31million this year.

‘The government has been trumpeting about the current budget surplus and in the meantime the ratepayers keep having to stump up with more and more in rates to cover the increased responsibilities.’

‘Over $8 million in GST is included in the annual rates paid by Hastings ratepayers which in reality is an unfair ‘tax on a tax’. If it was returned to council, it would go a long way to reducing the burden saving each ratepayer an average of $300 a year.’

‘If the Government was to return the annual GST component on rates paid this would help reduce rates, cover core services and assist build necessary infrastructure.’

‘Councils throughout the country struggle to maintain basic facilities and to cater for the demand for required infrastructure growth and a return of some of the billions gathered in GST could provide substantial relief on the ratepayers’.

As soon as the new government is formed, Local Government NZ should make it a priority to work with the Minister of Finance/Revenue to be innovative and practical with the use of GST.



1. Safety for our elderly

It is appalling that the elderly in our community are terrorised in their own homes by young thugs – probably chasing money for their despicable drug habits.

Whichever political party is elected and whatever government we have next week, our civic leaders need to lobby the Minister of Police for more officers in our region and stiffer penalties for offenders.

Yesterday’s story about the home invasion in Hastings reflects the growing trend for criminals to thumb their noses at authority and the law, and sadly when the police do catch these thugs, they will probably get ‘slapped over the wrist with a wet bus ticket’ by the courts. No doubt the do-gooders will trot out sob stories and defend their actions.

Community leaders, civic leaders and local MP’s need to band together lobbying for more police to get these criminals off the streets and protect our residents.

Cutting through the red tape of Bureaucracy

There are many issues residents of the district have raised with me during this campaign – concern over water, chlorination and associated health problems have been constantly at the forefront but as I have moved around the business community, the challenges of red tape and bureaucracy become more and more apparent.

There’s promises of improving the cities vitality, facilitating growth in the CBD, increasing residential and industrial development but when you ask the business community why it’s talk and no action, they’ll tell you that red tape tangles and frustrates them.

I’ve heard examples of ‘bully boy’ tactics from inspectors, delaying tactics with planning, exorbitant fees and an attitude from council suggesting that rather than working with developers to grow the district, council stifles progress. The prevailing attitude at council seems to be ‘the answer is no, now what is the question’!

For healthy growth in the community, we need a ‘can-do’ attitude from council so that the industrial engine room of Hawkes Bay is encouraged to grow. Developers are not some dangerous cult, they are people who invest time and money into growing our economy. For every dollar they spend, more jobs are created.

The more jobs created, the wealthier our communities, the less incentive for crime, the increased ability for home ownership and a safer community for all. Social housing is a stop-gap measure, long term financial strength and security brings real growth in home ownership, something that is more attainable here in the bay than many areas of New Zealand.

Councillor-candidates pay lip-service to ‘cutting the red tape’ but they allow bureaucrats to continue to slow the entrepreneurs down. The business community trying to grow the economy say it’s like wading through treacle, such are the difficulties the council throw in their way.

The district needs a Mayor with a can-do attitude so the excellent ideas of inner-city apartments, CBD vitality, industrial growth and rural prosperity become reality.


Chlorine must go

My promise is to take this poison out of the water supply.

Over the past fortnight, I have spoken to experts in water treatment and they confirm that if Hastings was to tap into a clean safe water aquifer, there is absolutely no reason the put chorine into our water supply.

We have been told that the chlorination is just there as a ‘safety measure’, but the risks associated with the unnecessary use of this chemical far outweigh the benefits. Public safety is at stake if we keep going down this path.’

The only reason the council think there is a need to put chlorine in the water is because they are tapping into ‘shallow young’ water and the simple solution is drill deeper bores at a minimal cost.

Chlorine is a toxic carcinogenic chemical and is the same stuff that was used in WWI as a poisonous gas, it is the basis of Dioxin that was used in 245T, the basis for ‘Agent Orange’ used in Vietnam and is well known as a serious risk to health. According to the US Council for the Environment, the risk of cancer is 93% higher if people drink chlorinated water.

‘The sad thing is that we have no idea how many people have been seriously affected by this ‘treatment’ but wherever we go during the by-election campaign, the issue of chlorine keeps on coming up.

We heard of so many ‘bottom lines’ during the general election but my promise to the ratepayers is that I will take the chlorine out of the water.’

‘I am sure the critics and the supporters of chlorine will say taking it out of our water is an unnecessary risk but what is unnecessary, is forcing a dangerous chemical down the throats of the consumers.’ This stuff has serious side-effects and the application of chlorine is a recommendation, not a requirement.

Quite simply, if we drill new bores deep enough to tap into the safe pure drinking water and reticulate that, there is absolutely no need for chorine or any other treatment for that matter. The Inquiry clearly stated that the root cause is contaminated water continues to be drawn from shallow unconfined aquifers.

‘While the cost of bores will be expensive, it’s nothing compared to the 12 million spent so far and if we can throw $17 million at the Opera House, then surely we can afford safe drinking water.

If the chlorine is going into the water supply because water testing shows contamination, then that reinforces the need for new bores.

One water expert told me last week that the bore in Havelock North is drawing water from as shallow as 5 metres below ground level and he (the expert) said that it’s no wonder that the water would be contaminated.

All the professional advice I have picked up in the last fortnight says that there is plenty of safe pure drinking water as long as the bore fields are in completely new areas away from the existing sites. After the clean water is accessed, council needs to have the resources allocated to keep the infrastructure properly maintained to avoid any further issues.

‘If the water bottling plants can access the pure water, then so should the ratepayers.’

It’s not just Havelock North and the Hastings urban systems that have a problem.

Water supplies at Waipatiki and around Tangoio are getting dangerously high levels of Chlorine in the water because the supply is so heavily contaminated with ammonia.

‘What worries me is what other disasters are being hidden from the ratepayers, and how long were council planning hide this issue from the people.’

Time for talking and procrastinating is over, stop wasting our money, drill some deep bores and take this dreadful poison out of the water.


Too much Hui, not enough Dooey on Hastings development

The subject of economic development is often trotted out at election time and especially by candidates competing for votes.

Revitalising communities, city centre development, strengthening the rural sector and growing tourism are hot topics and so they should be if we are to see our district grow.

Everyone claims to be an expert on every subject – they’ve been on holiday once so they know about growing tourism, sat on a business committee so wax eloquently about business growth. You know the story.

If Hastings district grows, reinforcing Hastings as the capital of Hawke’s Bay, we need commitment from our civic leaders to put the development plans into action.

Every aspect of economic development, from farm paddock to town centre, from tourists to community facility development, all play a key part in successful economic development. And one success is ineffective without the others.

As a district we are fortunate previous mayors have left a legacy on which we can build our future, the most recent being the large-format shopping centre.

While many understandably bemoaned the loss of Nelson Park, our challenge now is to revitalise the main street retail sector, linking it to this growing development.

No doubt there are dozens of reports sitting gathering dust on shelves in the Hastings “Beehive” and containing some great ideas, exciting visionary plans – but having a plan is just pretty words if it’s not put into action.

It’s not good enough to prattle about challenges, making vague election promises then conveniently do nothing for the next three years. We must do all we can to support every aspect of business life.

Our families, neighbours, friends and colleagues rely on the living organism that is commerce – the stronger it gets, the stronger our society, the more jobs and the better standard of living for all.

I recall in 2005 the council brought Australian “Mainstreet development” guru Peter Kenyon to Hastings to provide a platform for city-centre growth. Twelve years later, most of what he proposed lies in a dusty folder somewhere in the archives, discarded for the latest version which, like so many other reports, will be ignored.

The key ingredient to growth is strengthening existing business activity – including all business from retail, trade, hospitality, support industries and agriculture and horticultural sectors. And strengthening includes avoiding ludicrous proposals such as the WCO (water conservation order) – but that’s another story.

One sector I’ve had decades of experience with is the visitor industry – bringing tourist dollars to town.

Hastings is missing the boat on the tourism boom in New Zealand, which is frustrating when tourism is an excellent tool for attracting business growth into a city.

And it’s not just to motels and restaurants. The flow-on effect of tourism reaches every corner of the community. Visitors (domestic and International) spend on food, petrol, pharmacies, clothing stores, they provide jobs for every sector and their dollar impacts across the community.

I heard a sheep farmer say at a meeting that tourists never helped him – I mused that the $30 lamb shank I ate at a local restaurant must have come from somewhere.

Of the six top attractions in Hawke’s Bay rated in the Lonely Planet guide, five are in the Hastings district so the potential is there – we must blow our trumpet louder.

Fifteen years ago, the council was “completing negotiations” with a hotel developer – another grand plan that went nowhere. When a major international event comes to New Zealand, it’s frustrating to hear Tourism NZ talk about the country being full, when regional commercial accommodation operators still have vacancy signs out.

We do have plenty of quality accommodation and the new development in Havelock North, but Hastings does need a three- to four-star hotel to revitalise the city centre.

We have the best secondary schools in the country – bringing international students is another growth opportunity.

There are great ideas in the 2013 Hastings City Vibrancy plan and the concepts are exciting but why are they still just ideas?

While this plan goes through to 2033, why wait 20 years to see the city developed. And why kill good ideas such as the free parking – it was working bringing business back into the main street?

As a mayoral candidate, I’m not “bagging” existing plans – I just believe we must stop the talking and take action.

My vision for the city centre is to see it grow alongside managed development of our unique villages of Havelock North, Flaxmere and Clive. To see residential growth, inner-city apartments, a four-star hotel and tourism flourishing and creating jobs for future generations.

To see green space, fresh clean rivers, safe drinkable water and a rural sector that continues to grow as the food bowl of New Zealand.

So let’s make this happen, pull the plans from the bottom drawer, dust them off and put them into action. There is too much Hui, not enough Doeey!



Opera House

I wont hesitate to fire criticism at council if their decisions are ‘doubtful’ but I have to admire the determination to get the Opera house reopened. There are many ratepayers who believe the building should have been demolished and I respect that belief but there has been millions already spent and this latest strengthening has been committed and now underway. The key outcome will be to ensure that it is financially viable and also accessible to our community groups. It’s well worth going on line and watching the ‘time-lapse’ images showing the strengthening process inside the foyer at present.

go to this link:


Tourism is a major growth opportunity

Economic growth is important for the community. It brings jobs not just for breadwinners but also smart planning brings jobs for the youth – that’s great if we can keep our young people here in Hastings and Hawke’s Bay.

One way to get the economy moving is to put more effort into getting our share of Tourism growth. I’ve been involved with the tourism industry and economic development for almost 30 years and its the fastest growing industry in the world and the biggest in New Zealand.

An interesting fact is that of the top 6 ‘must do’ Hawkes Bay attractions highlighted in the Lonely Planet Travelers Guide, 5 of those are in the Hastings District. We have the core of a great tourism industry, we have the ideal climate for visitors so lets make it happen here.

Let’s get our share and support tourism businesses as well as boosting our attractions and facilities. As one of the councillors making the key decisions in the Hastings District Council, I can help the council team make that happen.

Vote Stuart Perry – you deserve better.


Our economy is our strength.

Hastings  district is the engine room of the region. It is where the majority of our strongest businesses are and as such, we need to support the business sector – that’s where our jobs are, our growth will be and more importantly how we can keep our youth in our home towns.

And when we talk about business, we think of factories and retailers, tradesmen and service industries but of course agriculture and horticulture play a critical role in our economic success as well.

If we recognise the importance of the co-existence of all of these economic powerhouses, if we work in harmony together, then not only will we see the strong sustainable growth the district needs but also confront and deal with the environmental issues that worry our society.

Its all about inclusion, building strong relationships and working together.

Vote Stuart Perry for Council – because you deserve better.


The campaigning is on….

There are over 2000 candidates standing in the local body elections in Hawkes Bay.

While thats a bit daunting for the voters, its great to see that wrange of candidates and it does give me the chance to demonstrate my point of difference and highlight the changes I can bring to the council table.

At the end of the day, if the district wants serious change, experience and inspirational leadership, then I ask you to spread the word around your Rural networks and build up the votes to get me into council.

Thanks for your support.

Vote Stuart Perry for Council – Mohaka Ward – you deserve better.

Index of these issues

  1. Get the votes in
  2. C.B.D. ‘revitalisation’
  3. Cutting Red Tape
  4. Ease the rates burden
  5. Economic development – not enough action
  6. Tourism
  7. Opera House renovations
  8. Economy
  9. Emergency housing
  10. Safety for our elderly