Mayoral elections have been confirmed for four of the five local council areas in the Hawke's Bay Today circulation area following yesterday's closing of nominations in the 2016 Local Elections.
The only mayor seeking re-election in the vote which ends on October 8 and who can now forget about having to campaign is Napier's Bill Dalton, guaranteed a second and probably last term in contrast to the six-way contest he had in 2013 when seeking the office vacated by four-term mayor Barbara Arnott.
But Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, going for a sixth term since first being elected to the job in 2001, faces a challenge from Cr Adrienne Pierce and Hastings lawyer Guy Wellwood.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little, who in 2013 won a four-way race which included the sitting mayor and a previous mayor, this year faces challenges from Cr Benita Cairns and retired teacher Roland Matley.
There will be new mayors in the southern reaches with Central Hawke's Bay's Peter Butler and Tararua's Roly Ellis having both decided not to go another round.
In CHB Cr Sally Butler, is up against election newcomers Gerard Pain and Alex Walker, while a contest has started in Tararua among five who are also seeking council election - North Ward aspirants Allan Benbow, Ernie Christison and Kay McKenzie, and South Ward hopefuls Tracey Collis and Shirley Hull, the only two current councillors seeking the top job.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson has to beat fellow candidate Dean Whaanga in a Wairoa constituency vote before his name can go before the Council for election to the Chair again.
The six city, district and regional council elections have drawn 107 nominations, compared with 112 in 2013. It includes a significant difference in Napier, where there are 23 candidates compared with 33 in 2013 (12 in the Councillor at Large vote compared with 16 three years ago), and also in Central Hawke's Bay where 19 are in the two-ward races, compared with 12 in 2013.
The most experienced candidate is Alan Dick, who has spent almost all of the past 33 years in local government, since first being elected to the Napier City Council in 1983. He was Napier Mayor from 1989-2001, the first three years of which he was also a founding member of the Regional Council. He is now going for a 6th consecutive term on the Regional Council, of which he is the immediate-past chairman.
The eldest candidate is thought to be Wairoa mayoralty and council candidate Mr Matley, and the youngest 24-year-old Napier council candidate, who was also the youngest in the elections three years ago.
One long-serving representative who confirmed yesterday he won't be standing for his Council position again is Hastings District councillor Mick Lester.
After 15 years he has decided to see out his local government career on the council's Rural Community Board.
Expected opposition in his bid for the single Poukawa constituency place fell away on Thursday night when incumbent Bayden Barber rang him to say he would instead be seeking only a seat on the district council.