Hewitt confident, Elderkamp says time will tell

By Nicki Harper

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Dan Elderkamp
Dan Elderkamp

Central Hawke's Bay regional council incumbent candidate Debbie Hewitt is feeling confident about being re-elected this Saturday, while rival Dan Elderkamp is not prepared to call it.

Mrs Hewitt supports the building of the Ruataniwha Dam, while Mr Elderkamp is opposed to it.

Mrs Hewitt, who is seeking a second term as the CHB representative on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, said she is feeling confident about her re-election chances but is not resting on her laurels.

"I'm not taking anything for granted - I have been out and about meeting people, but also concentrating on the job at hand," she said, referring to the regular council business, meetings and decision making.

"We only had our last meeting on Wednesday last week and have still been very busy working hard on stuff that is not Ruataniwha Dam-related."

Even for an incumbent, campaigning was hard work, she said.

"It goes on for a long time, both before and after the nominations are in - it will be great to go back to business as usual."

She said that in the past two weeks there had been an anti-farming, scaremongering campaign waged against the dam, which was dangerous if voters were complacent.

"There has also been the noise from the Hastings councillors which has not always been constructive.

"I really hope the voters get those papers out and make sure they have their say, and I will be very interested to see who will be around the council table next term."

She added that throughout this election campaign she had enjoyed the public meetings.
"The turnout and community interest has been great."

Mr Elderkamp, who is running for the first time, said that although he had received positive feedback over the past two or three months, he was not going to count his chickens before they hatched.

A key vehicle for his campaign had been social media, which he said was the most effective way for him to engage with people at the same time as juggling his work commitments on the farm.

"I've probably not been out and about as much as I would have liked to, but when I've taken my normal trips into town and talked to people they have been very encouraging.

"It's been the perfect political storm in the last two to three weeks with other issues coming to the fore, such as the Havelock North water situation.

"I'm not sure if that will have an impact on how people are going to vote."

He said that at the public meetings he had spoken at people had been fairly vocal about their support for the dam, and incumbent Mrs Hewitt.

"Then again it's the people who are not at those meetings who will ultimately make the final decision, so time will tell."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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