The five candidates vying for a seat on Hawke's Bay Regional Council's urban Hastings ward introduced themselves via a Forest & Bird-hosted public meeting last night.
Candidates had to wait for the food sale to finish at the Wesley Methodist Hall, after also waiting while the Society concluded its monthly meeting's general business.
Council incumbent Kevin Rose, resplendent in a pinstripe suit and lemon tie told the crowd of 50 he had been instrumental in the "hugely successful" fight against possums.
The fight would next be brought to stoats and ferrets and a hooray was heard when he said feral cats would be included.
He said rubbish dumping was "driving me bananas" and advocated a $1000 fine for dumpers.
Rex Graham said that he too was fighting against feral cats on his lifestyle block, but unfortunately had killed his neighbour's cat.
He said he had a business in China and did not want Hawke's Bay to sacrifice environment for the sake of economic growth, as the Chinese had.
Twyford growers were angry at the council "because of the arrogance of staff" and Mr Graham called for a referendum on the Ruataniwha dam.
Tom Belford said the referendum was a good idea.
He spoke of his United States experience where he had "worked on a bigger stage with bigger stakes" - experience needed because of the "monumental issues" facing the current council: climate change, water issues and oil and gas.
Rick Barker attacked the council for most of his six minute slot. "This council will only move if you put a bomb under it," he said.
Hawke's Bay needed amalgamation - it had suffered because there were five council voices on every issue, he said.
It had failed on the dam issue because "most people are bewildered by it" rather than having an opinion.
Murray Douglas said a clean environment was important both for its own sake and that of its rural industries.
Mr Douglas has only recently been appointed to the council, after a resignation, but spoke of his track record on keeping rates to the rate of inflation and removing cattle from waterways.
He said a plan to reopen the rail line to Gisborne would work and his extensive experience with councils in New Zealand and Australia would help free up funds for important project because "I know where the bodies are".
Hawke's Bay Today went to press before candidates took questions from the floor.