Crownthorpe's Stuart Perry has worked for the Hastings District Council previously and a number of other governing bodies, and has decided to stand for Hastings mayor in the upcoming by-election.

Hawke's Bay Today asked all six candidates running for mayor - here is his response.

1. What is your vision for the Hastings district?
Quite frankly I'm here because we all deserve better. We deserve a district with a council that plays its part in delivering excellent services, creates the opportunity for business/job growth and enables a quality lifestyle so people can live well. It's my vision to see the district economically stronger, build on our reputation as the food bowl of NZ, to have safer communities, dynamic town centres, tourism growth and recognised as the centre for the arts. Free up land for housing for residential growth, review centre city zoning working with developers for inner-city apartments. My council will work with rural groups to protect and maximise opportunities for horticulture and farming.

2. What steps will you take in your first 100 days to turn this vision into reality?
Meet with key groups and organisations and form think tanks of residents and sector groups to take 'the pulse of our community'. We need to know what you want. Review the structure of council and look at the first steps in getting rates to an affordable level. Work with the executive to develop a citizens' focused 'service culture' within council by putting your interests first and cutting the red tape!

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3. Name the one main area you would collaborate with other Hawke's Bay councils on.
Water! Ratepayers deserve safe chemical-free drinking water that tastes good, healthy waterways and the rural sector deserve a secure water supply to underpin regional economic growth.

4. Are you in favour of continued chlorination for the Hastings district's drinking water? No, there should be no need to chlorinate - alternative options have been proposed to council and rejected - that's not good enough. Council wasted $12 million on navel-gazing without a solution and still chlorinating the water. It's still the biggest issue for ratepayers 14 months after 5000 people were poisoned. Ratepayers should remember that existing councillors were collectively responsible for the water crisis. So, let's fix it now and move on with growing the district - it's about the future, not the past.

5. Do you support the controversial Water Conservation Order - why, why not?
No to WCO. Certainly not in its present form. We all agree protection is needed for the waterways but don't risk the livelihoods of thousands of people in our district by ceding responsibility for our own environment. We can look after these issues ourselves without outsiders doing their damndest to destroy our horticultural industry. This WCO will negatively impact on farmers, horticulturists, factory workers and business. We need a solution that works for all to balance water conservation and quality with the communities need for water to generate jobs and economic growth.

6. What's the biggest asset you would bring to the mayoralty?
You can't beat experience, attitude and vision. My peers call me an energetic, effective, and inspiring leader with 30 years of senior executive and governance experience. I have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of councils but I'm not stifled by bureaucracy. I will bring a fresh approach to positioning Hastings as the capital of Hawke's Bay. You need my strong leadership. I understand people, I'm socially concerned and will work with Wellington to make people safe in their homes and on the streets of the Hastings district. I'm in this race to win because the ratepayers deserve better.