If she becomes Hastings' first female mayor, candidate Adrienne Pierce hopes to take its council back to basics.

As part of a Hawke's Bay Today series of video interviews with local body candidates, Ms Pierce spoke with editor Andrew Austin on improving the council's transparency, retaining the management for Horse of the Year, and challenging the status quo.

If elected in October, Ms Pierce said she would bring her business skills to the table, particularly her focus on customer service.

"There's a culture that I would really like to work on regarding staying in touch with our customers, informing them about what's going on," she said. "There's a lot of talk about transparency, consulting, collaboration, but talk's cheap. You have to deliver it and I know that my skill set is really strong in that area."


She said, "I want to be the mayor of Hastings, I know I can do the job, I've got lots of new thinking and new ideas, I'm not locked into any particular way of thinking."

The Havelock North resident also came "with a clean slate", without allegiances, or alliances.

As well as running for mayor, Ms Pierce is also standing for council. Although it was a big decision, "I do want to remain at the table because I ask questions and it's really important that people who go to that table ask questions."

However to be effective on council, you had to be in "the in-crowd" - and asking a lot of questions meant she had not been.

"I haven't been worn down, I haven't been flattened to the ground so I don't just sit there and nod my head," she said, "that is a very bad space for a councillor to get themselves into.

"Ratepayers pay a minimum of $40,000 a year for councillors to represent them, so that's what I do."

The incumbent councillor said her achievements over the past term included advocating for the support of local businesses, working to reduce "signage pollution", and being strong on the community grants committee.

If elected as mayor, her top priority was to "go back to basics". This included doing a review, and audit of council, as well as going through council plans to see what had been achieved.


Although criticised for a perceived lack of policies, Ms Pierce said the mayoralty was a huge job meaning she could not point to three things she would do if elected- as her opponents had.

She did have ten platforms she was standing on, "and they cover a lot of things, communicate, collaborate, consult, and mean it".

Ms Pierce said she would also work to unite the new group of councillors, some of whom she hoped would be "south of 50".

Previously she has been critical of the council's involvement with the Horse of the Year show due to deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers being chair of its board.

"It's a commercial activity and we could support the board but a councillor or certainly the deputy mayor shouldn't have been sitting there," she said.

However, Ms Pierce advocated retaining the event's management SMC Events, following a financial loss this year.

With the mayoralty contested, including by female candidates, in all areas but Napier, Ms Pierce said she thought a change of dynamics in the group of currently male mayors would be a good thing for the region.

Speaking on the possibility of a female Hastings, and Central Hawke's Bay mayors, she said,"it will be up to the two of us to earn the respect of the people already at the table.

"There might be some attitude about that from the lads, I'm not sure how they'll feel about it, but I think it'll be a positive change for the region."

Although Ms Pierce was also involved in the Havelock North Business Association, and other committees, she said things would have to change a bit as she hoped to be a full-time mayor.

Whatever the outcome of next month's election, she was confident she would remain a resident of Hawke's Bay.