Lawrence Yule to seek another term as Hastings mayor

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ANOTHER RUN: Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule will again stand for mayor at this year's elections. He's pictured in the CBD with wife Kerryn. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN
ANOTHER RUN: Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule will again stand for mayor at this year's elections. He's pictured in the CBD with wife Kerryn. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN

EXCLUSIVE

Lawrence Yule is standing for the mayoralty of Hastings at this year's local body elections.

After months of speculation, and off the back of comments that he wouldn't stand if amalgamation failed, Mr Yule admitted it was a difficult decision to make.

He said people had approached him to run for national and regional politics, both of which he has ruled out for now - wanting to give a clear commitment to the people of the Hastings District for the next three years.

While a seemingly late entrant into the mayoralty race, Mr Yule is a strong believer in democracy, and offered his congratulations to both Adrienne Pierce and Guy Wellwood for throwing their hat in the ring.

He said for the campaign he would be focusing on the issues, not getting into personality politics, and that he hopes the people will judge him on his past achievements.

"The people will actually end up having the choice about comparing my record and approach with their suggested approach and ideas," he said.

"I have enjoyed, and I don't take for granted, the support that I have had from the community as over my time as the mayor.

"It is their choice as to whether I continue in that role or not."
He said that some of his opponents might advocate that Hastings District Council has to "get back to basics".

"Well, my view is actually the basics are pretty good," Mr Yule said.
And if the people decide he is the man for the top job there are more things he would like to achieve as leader.

"I particularly want to get the [Hawke's Bay] Opera House re-opened and finished," he said.
"I want to put some concerted effort into the CBD and I want to continue on [with] some very good work we are doing around employment growth and job development."

And off the back of Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett offering Auckland's homeless $5000 to move to the provinces, he noted there were people in the Hasting's community who were finding it really hard.

Moreover, he said, it was more than just housing had to be taken into account with such a move - such as jobs and services.

That is why the incumbent mayor also wants to spend more time and effort in some of the district's smaller communities.

"I am becoming more and more concerned about safety, policing those community aspects than I was a year ago," he said.

It is this focus that he wants to take into his 2016 campaign.

"There is nothing that gives me any more pleasure than what I consider smaller things I do in my day but they are the most important to people," he said.

He believes that it is the experience through his international travel that has given him that perspective.

He offered up an anecdote of how he was sitting in Helen Clark's United Nations office in New York on a Friday and then opening up a playground in front of 100 people in Hastings on a Sunday.

"While I had been in some major place in New York I got a greater sense of achievement from that community seeing those kids have that playground and what it meant," he said.
"So those things they still mean a lot to me."

He said for now he was pretty comfortable with his decision, that Hastings and Hawke's Bay was "on a roll" like he hadn't seen in a decade, and he felt he still had much to contribute to the district.

And with his other roles - chairman of the Regional Sports Park, chairman of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and president of Local Government New Zealand - drawing to a close, he was now asking the people to give him his last term as their mayor.

"[However], if they want some change or if they want to support another candidate - I believe in democracy and I am fine with that," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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