Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule is throwing his hat in the ring to contest this year's local government election but won't say whether he'll go on to challenge for a place in a merged Hawke's Bay council, likely to be announced next year.
Mr Yule, who up until this week had been undecided on his political future, said his campaign towards the October election would be squarely focused on moving Hawke's Bay's five councils toward amalgamation.
"People have already started to ask if I will stand for a merged council but my main focus is to show a way forward under a different structure and whether I am part of that or not is irrelevant.
"What matters is the future of this region and I certainly do not have some big plan to line myself up for a new position."
Mr Yule, who will contest his fifth election for mayor, was not worried if people did not vote for him because they didn't support a merger.
"I believe to the core that this region would be better with a united structure to run and manage local government.
There will be some cost savings but the real benefit comes from being able to tackle the world together.
"We spend too much time worrying about each other when we face some big challenges such as our demographic, jobs, getting resources from government, all things we would be better placed to achieve by working as one region."
Mr Yule said his decision to contest the mayorship for Hastings ruled out any suggestions he'd stand as a candidate for the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
Current laws did allow a candidate to contest mayorship across two councils, such as Napier and Hastings, but Mr Yule said it was not an option for him.
Mr Yule said his primary goal now was to put pressure on the regional council to have the second part of the overdue Hawke's Bay prosperity report by consultant Peter Winder completed.
"I contacted the regional council about three weeks ago and was told the report would be done in 10 days and there's still nothing.
"The second part of the report looks at what are the various structures which would work for a merged council and it would provide conclusive, independent information to the Local Government Authority."
The authority will decide which model could be used to bring the region's councils together.