Current acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst was first elected to the Hastings District Council in 2010, and is having a shot at the mayoral seat in the upcoming by-election.
Hawke's Bay Today asked all six candidates running for mayor - here is her response.

1. What is your vision for the Hastings district?
To create a better place for our people. For our council to build a strong, sustainable economy that provides employment and enhances the lives of those who live in our community. I want a vibrant and prosperous Hastings city and district that has a strong sense of culture and identity. Improving the quality of our water resources to provide safe drinking water and improved waterways is critical to our district's wellbeing and economy.

2. What steps will you take in your first 100 days to turn this vision into reality?
While achieving my vision will take more than 100 days and will need the support of many, I have already begun building a united, innovative council. Our council team understands and believes in our vision. They are committed to implementing our vision through strategy and policy. I will also build strong partnerships with central government and iwi, to assist in the delivery of efficient, effective infrastructure, address social issues and community needs including the supply of quality housing, and provide a safe community.

3. Name the one main area you would collaborate with other Hawke's Bay councils on.
To collectively and effectively represent our region's aspirations to achieve the best outcomes for our people it is imperative we work together. We will achieve much more by adopting a collaborative culture. Firstly, it is crucial we work together to better manage our most precious resource, fresh water. We need to protect and guarantee the delivery of safe drinking water. We need to improve the quality of our natural waterways. Developing long term sustainable water solutions requires vision and innovation. All councils must work together, because a sustainable quality water supply is essential for our existence. Secondly, our region's councils need to commit to a long term coastal hazards strategy if we are to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change on our coastal environment.


4. Are you in favour of continued chlorination for the Hastings district's drinking water?
Safe drinking water is my No 1 priority. Following the last year's water contamination, the Ministry of Health required our council to chlorinate our water in the short term. In the long term, whether we continue to chlorinate our water supply could be a community decision. But before that decision can be made, we need to fully understand the facts. I am committed to providing our community safe, clean, drinking water.

5. Do you support the controversial Water Conservation Order - why, why not?
I do not support the Water Conservation Order on the lower Ngaruroro River. Our water is the life blood of our people and our economy. In Hastings we grow food to feed our region, our country and the world. A Water Conservation Order would have an enormous impact on the supply of water to our city, the viability of our industries, the irrigation of our crops and the employment of our people. I believe a Water Conservation Order may be appropriate for the upper part of the Ngaruroro River to protect the recreational value north of Whana Whana. TANK (Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro, Karamu) is a Hawke's Bay Regional Council-led collaborative community project aimed at protecting the quality and monitoring the quantity of water taken from these four waterways. We need the TANK group to provide us with innovative, sustainable water management solutions.

6. What's the biggest asset you would bring to the mayoralty?
I am an experienced councillor and currently acting mayor. I understand the challenges facing our communities and the opportunities to improve the lives of our people and make our district a better place. I am working hard. I am passionate about making a difference. I am an inclusive leader who believes in the importance of strong community. We need to be enthusiastic. We need to believe in ourselves if we are to empower everyone to make a difference, no matter how small that difference may be.