Hastings has a new deputy mayor, after the recently elected council met privately to vote at an informal meeeting on who should be appointed ahead of today's first council meeting.

Mayor Lawrence Yule said the candidate that had been selected had the majority support of the other councillors.

"We nutted it out yesterday - I have tried to be as inclusive as I can to ensure that the person selected has the support of the others."

People raised as possible contenders included Sandra Hazlehurst, who was the highest polling candidate.


Henare O'Keefe, Rod Heaps, Malcolm Dixon and Damon Harvey were also said to have been possible choices for the job.

First-time councillor and ATTN Marketing PR director Damon Harvey withdrew himself from contention for the role before the informal discussions were held.

"I decided I was best to make a positive impact in other ways as a new councillor."

He said he stood for council on the platform of economic vitality and supporting local businesses with the aim of creating more jobs for locals and believed he was better suited to do this as a councillor.

"I've got extensive business experience and broad reach across the region and this offers greater benefit to the community.

"I was very proud to poll so high as a newcomer and that was because people wanted change. Although I am a supporter of Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule there will be times when I will challenge the status quo."

A report to the council by legal officer Peter Woodroffe in today's meeting agenda noted that voting on appointments had to be open - the legislation dictated that the council could not hold a secret ballot to determine who gets appointed to any position.

Mr Woodroffe recommended a system of voting that ensured a majority decision was made that gave adequate scope for members to express their preferences.

Mr Yule said this information was included in the agenda as it was a legal requirement of the voting process, but with there being little probability of yesterday's decision being challenged, such voting would not need to take place.

Also on the agenda of today's meeting was the appointments to committees, sub-committees, joint committees and external organisations, positions that were legally required to be vacated when newly elected members came into office.

Mr Yule said he was still discussing these appointments with the councillors.

His recommendations would be put forward to the council to be adopted, although the arrangements could be reviewed or changed at any time.

"We are leaving these decisions until November 8 - between now and that date we will be working out the chairs and structure of these committees."