Two prominent Hawke's Bay men with long hair support the suspension of a St John's College student who refuses to cut his hair.

The student's parents spoke out on TVNZ's Seven Sharp this week and have placed the school's decision to suspend their son before the High Court.

Napier National candidate Wayne Walford, known for his ponytail, said he agreed in principle with St John's College student Lucan Battison's suspension.

"There was an opportunity for discussion that has clearly passed," Mr Walford said.


"They've gotta have rules. I do agree with it."

Hawke's Bay regional councillor Tom Belford, who also sports a ponytail, said while he'd prefer to send his child to a school that was open-minded on the matter, "if there is a school rule, applied even-handedly, then you accept the rule as the price of entry". Mr Belford said when he was Lucan's age, his father cut his hair and it was "brutally short".

"I guess a shrink would say that's why my hair is long today."

Mr Belford attended Catholic grammar and high schools where there was "probably some kind of restriction".

Mr Walford also recalled hair rules at school.

"The rule at my school was if it touched the collar it [hair] had to be tied up or cut."

Mr Walford's hair never reached his collar during his school days.

Asked what he would do if he was in Lucan's position, Mr Walford said: "I'd move on ... I'd find another school."


However, he was sympathetic toward Mr and Mrs Battison "standing by their son" by placing the matter before the High Court.

He had never received criticism for the length of his hair in his position as Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive.

"My profession considered it a marketing opportunity ... it's a unique point of difference.

"I'm happy to stand aside from the rest."