Editorial: Tough fights make for good govt

By Andrew Austin

3 comments

The list of candidates for the local government elections in Hawke's Bay, which was made public yesterday, certainly makes for interesting reading.

We have full coverage in today's paper and it is good to see some strong candidates running for office.

Let's hope it is like 2013, where we had some tough tussles, none more so than for regional council seats, where an effective third-party campaign resulted in some council stalwarts being booted out in favour of new blood.

There is plenty of scope for that to happen this time and there is nothing like competition to make it more likely we get the best candidates.

Thankfully we do not have many uncontested seats with only Tania Kerr for Hastings District Council and Annette Brosnihan for Napier City Council. Current Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, who says this is his last term, will also be elected unopposed.

I am sure he would have seen off most competitors anyway, but it would have been better for democracy for him to have had to fight for his position.

It may be that no one was brave enough to go up against him or that a deal or two was struck with some current councillors. Kirsten Wise has already indicated she will be running for mayor in 2019, so don't be surprised if she becomes Mr Dalton's deputy in the new term. A little bit of succession planning maybe?

There is also potential for a bit of a shake-up in Hastings District Council, especially since Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers has decided to seek election to the regional council. Lawrence Yule should in all likelihood beat current councillor Adrienne Pierce and local lawyer Guy Wellwood for the mayoralty, although he would be quite nervous given that Hastings voters seem to have blamed him for amalgamation in last year's referendum.

If he does get in, Mr Yule will have to create a new support base of councillors since some of his most trusted lieutenants, Ms Bowers and Mick Lester in particular, will not be there to support him. However, don't be surprised to see some more succession planning with local PR guru Damon Harvey (if he gets elected) filling Ms Bowers' role as deputy. That would pave the way for him to have a tilt at the top job next election.

There is so much more to analyse and over the next few weeks I will be using the editorial column to do so. We also plan to give this election full coverage and will be telling you all you need to know about the candidates who think they have your interests at heart.

Stay tuned.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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