Outspoken on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Neil Kirton is passionate about protecting and restoring the region’s precious land, water and biodiversity. Neil has been a very effective voice for Napier and a crucial part the team driving the council’s far-reaching environmental agenda. Neil has a post-graduate science degree.
On council Neil has consistently focused attention on our coastal and marine environment. He has been a relentless advocate for protecting the Ahuriri Estuary, securing major funding of over $2.0 million for riparian planting. Neil represents the regional council on committee’s responsible for the Ahuriri Estuary. A justice of the peace and a member of parliament Neil, served as the Minister of Customs and Associate Minister of Health. He was responsible for introducing free healthcare for children under six.
Neil is chair of the council’s corporate and strategic committee. He is as a director on the council’s investment company, HBRIC that has generate exceptional investment returns, reducing rates to Napier households by around $200 each year. Keeping a majority of Napier Port shares in public ownership is an absolute bottom line, Neil says. As a regional councillor, HB Today described Neil as outspoken and constantly thinking about how the council is spending ratepayers money and its responsibility to the public. Every councillor is accountable to the public and to protect to always put the public interest first and foremost, he says.
Major storms sweeping the country are now the cause of apoplectic nightmares for Hawke’s Bay council’s. Every rain event carries the potential to inundate vulnerable flood control systems, particularly in Napier. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Napier City Council were given a rude shock in November 2020. In a 24-hour rain burst, the city’s flood protection was overwhelmed. Suburbs turned into lakes with over $100 million of damage and hundreds of houses ruined.
One and a half years have passed since one of Napier’s most significant flood events in decades. Yet in recent days we have seen more torrential rain, raging rivers and monstrous seas pounding our coast. Mother nature is trying to tell us something! Climate change is no longer an ethereal spectre for some future generation to deal with. Climate change is now! An early morning mid-storm tour of Napier revealed our flood management system coping well. Dedicated and hard working regional and city council staff were well prepared this time.
Neil Kirton – Councillor Napier