The southerly blast did not stop people flooding through the door to watch the battle of the Hastings mayoral candidates last night. Lawrence Yule, Guy Wellwood and Adrienne Pierce were at the centre of the mayoral debate held at Karamu High School.

The evening began with an address from each candidate and was followed by a series of questions from Hawke's Bay Today readers, which editor Andrew Austin read out.

Hot topics such as the Havelock North water contamination and the Ruataniwha Dam were thrown at the mayoral hopefuls. Members of the public were very impressed with the debate and the way the candidates spoke.

"It was well worth coming in this horrible weather, the questions were organised and I heard everything I wanted to," Hastings resident Lex Brewer said. Yvonne Lambert said the handling of the questions was superb as everyone could hear the answers.


"It was so much better than audience members just yelling out questions,"she said.

"I was impressed." Both Ms Brewer and Ms Lambert enjoyed listening to the only woman speak, as they had not seen much of her during the gastro outbreak.

"It was interesting to hear what she had to say away from the crisis." Hastings resident Peter McNab was also happy to have made the effort to attend.

He felt all candidates had spoken well but wished they had said more "concrete stuff".

"I think they needed to say more about what they would actually do and the policies they would implement."

New to the scene, Guy Wellwood divided audience opinion.

Some said they felt he was too negative, as he focused on running Mr Yule down while others said he had won their vote.

"I really liked the way he addressed things and he was also entertaining," Mr McNab said.

A gold coin entry secured a total of $602 for Hastings Women's Refuge.