Napier Mayor Bill Dalton was seething yesterday in the wake of comments made by Massey University lecturer and local government academic Dr Andy Asquith about his standing unopposed.

But not so much for himself, despite Dr Asquith stating that a challenger for Mr Dalton would have made him "get off his backside and earn the right to be mayor for three years".

It was saying the people of Napier needed to have a "good hard look at themselves" which angered Mr Dalton.

"That is an insult to the people of Napier," he said, adding he had received several calls and messages from people expressing their anger at what was said.

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"It is the sort of comment you would expect from someone who is out of touch and a person with no local knowledge, " Mr Dalton said.

"Shirley and I have been off our backsides working hard for Napier for the last three years - I think the people of Napier are far more perceptive and knowledgeable than this 'expert'."

Mr Dalton believed that no one standing against him was effectively judgment that he had worked hard during his first term as mayor.

He said people did not always have to carry out a strong campaign to earn the right to be mayor.

"The way to earn to right to be mayor for three years is to work very hard."

He said he had never heard of Dr Asquith and had no desire to hear about him, saying the statements were the result of "someone who has had his nose in a book too long".

Dr Asquith was more comfortable with the election of Lawrence Yule who regained the mayoralty after a three-way battle for the job.

He said Mr Yule had been accessible and open and had handled the Havelock North water crisis well.

His re-election was something Hastings "should be thankful for", he said.

Mr Yule simply said "I just do what I do and that's the way I am".

He said he looked at the whole water issue and asked himself how else he could have handled it, and said he wanted to keep people safe and answer the questions and "share everything, warts and all, along the way".

"It was incredibly stressful for mew - the most stressful time in my career."

Mr Yule said he was humbled by the comments about him but was a bit surprised about the comments Dr Asquith made about Mr Dalton.

He said first-term mayors very often got elected unopposed for a second stint, and that Mr Dalton was one of eight or nine mayors around the country who returned unopposed.

Dr Asquith said his comments were "my opinion - my informed opinion".

He said he had stood in two elections, at district and country level in the UK in 1996 and 1997, and said he had carried out extensive studies of local government elections.

Having several contenders for the mayoralty role "raised the level of debate" Dr Asquith said, adding he was surprised people did not stand for the chance to take on the role.