Some candidates with significant political experience have put their hands up for seats on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, ensuring that October's election could be as bitter as the last one in 2013.
The list of candidates for the regional council, which was released after nominations closed at midday on Friday, show that all constituencies will be contested.
In the regional council's Central Hawke's Bay constituency just two candidates have stepped up. Incumbent and Ruataniwha Dam supporter Debbie Hewitt will battle it out with former co-chairman of CHB Forest & Bird, Dan Elderkamp, who does not support the construction of the dam.
The Wairoa constituency will also see two contenders go head to head: current council chairman Fenton Wilson faces a challenge from Mahia resident Dean Whaanga. Mr Whaanga is a trustee on the Wairoa Economic Development Trust, a JP and celebrant, and a manager with a training establishment.
Mr Whaanga said he was running for the regional council because "I am disappointed at the condition of the Wairoa District waterways".
He said he felt the Ruataniwha Dam did not have any advantage or outcome for Wairoa but there was an expectation that Wairoa ratepayers should pay for the scheme for the 35 years.
Once again the battle will be fierce in the Hastings constituency, which last election saw long-standing councillors rejected by voters after a backlash from Twyford growers who felt their views were not being listened to.
Three councillors who were elected on the back of that revolt will themselves face stiff competition, with two experienced local government politicians deciding to run. The two are current Hastings Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers, who announced this week that she would not be seeking re-election to the Hastings District Council, and Tim Gilbertson, who stood in the CHB constituency last election and was defeated by Ms Hewitt. Mr Gilbertson is a former Central Hawke's Bay mayor and councillor, a former Hawke's Bay regional councillor and a former chairman of Waipukurau Federated Farmers.
Ms Bowers said in an interview this week that the regional council "must be more bold and visionary in terms of safe-guarding our environment and in listening to the aspirations and needs of constituents".
Five candidates have stepped forward to contest the three Napier constituency seats including incumbent and former Napier Mayor Alan Dick, environmental lawyer Martin Williams, Taranaki regional councillor and Napier resident Moira Irving, former regional councillor and former NZ First MP Neil Kirton and Green Party member Paul Bailey, who is anti dam. Two current councillors, Dave Pipe and Christine Scott, who is the current deputy chair of the council, will not stand in the elections.
In the Ngaruroro constituency, incumbent Peter Beaven has been challenged by relative unknown Dan Ross.
Voting papers for the local elections will be sent out next month, with voting open on September 15 and closing at noon on October 8.
-The candidate list can be viewed on the website: hbrc.govt.nz, search #candidates.