Nominations close today in the byelection to replace Sandra Hazlehurst (now mayor) as a Hastings District councillor.

So far five candidates have put their hands up - Eileen Lawson, who narrowly missed out in last year's byelection for Adrienne Pierce's seat; Hawke's Bay Today columnist Bruce Bisset and Rion Roben, who both were unsuccesful last time; unsuccessful mayoral candidate Stuart Perry; and former Green Party Tukituki candidate Chris Perley.

It is quite a diverse group contesting yet another byelection. Byelections are notorious for having low turnouts, with only 40 per cent of eligible voters voting in last year's one that saw local businesswoman Wendy Schollum elected councillor.

Read more: Stuart Perry to run in Hastings council byelection
Chris Perley to stand in Hastings District Council byelection

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So, it won't take much for someone to win - probably just more than 3000 votes.
As things stand the contest is probably between Ms Lawson, Mr Perry and Mr Perley.

Ms Lawson only lost by about 300 votes last time so would back herself to take it this time. Mr Perry, although he only came fourth in the mayoral race, did build up quite a following so could be a bit of a force this time.

Mr Perley is the wildcard as he is articulate and has some loyal supporters. His decision to enter the race is probably bad news for Mr Bisset as he is likely to take a number of green votes from him.

The decision by Mr Robin to try his luck again seems quite odd as he did not spend anything on his last campaign and did not even get 500 votes in the election.

But that is what democracy is all about and soon it will be up to the voters to choose who they want to represent them on the Hastings District Council.

I would encourage you, if you are eligible to vote, to do so.

Voting papers will start going out on Tuesday, March 20, and voting closes at 12 noon on April 11.