Ensuring a better environment, community and economy is the vision Chris Perley hopes to work toward if elected to the Hastings District Council.
Born and raised in Hastings, Mr Perley is standing in the Hastings-Havelock North Ward, as he feels he can build on what is already being done there.
"I want to be a part of that, building momentum to create a better place for all of our people, without the nonsense of assuming that degrading and extracting the environmental and social value around us will somehow make us more wealthy in the long-term."
He says the council has shown leadership - especially in regards to its strategic vision, supporting a GMO-free Hawke's Bay and for prohibiting fracking in the catchments linked to the Heretaunga Plains aquifer.
The former Green Party candidate says the environment, community and economy need to work in harmony to "build a better Hawke's Bay". With a background in strategy, policy, research and operational management in provincial economies and land use, Mr Perley returned to the region in 2008 and has since advocated for a shift away from a "colonial commodity approach to our economy and our environment" - citing the Ruataniwha Dam as an example.
"There is no future in chasing the declining prices of commodities, especially when you degrade the environment and working conditions along the way - that is a race to the bottom," he says. Instead, he advocates a "creative economy approach", where the creative spirit of people and the potential within Hawke's Bay would provide for the future.
Examples of that are the region's premium produce marketed to high-value markets and communities and townships lifting the pride and spirit of their people.
Mr Perley also believes in the importance of a council which encourages local initiative, builds community democracy and takes a long-term and broad view "as the guardians for our future generations".
"We can have a better environment, a better community and a better economy. That should be our vision."