Women gathered in Hastings on Thursday night to learn about running for local government positions.

The panel was run by the National Council of Women, and hosted by former regional councillor Christine Scott.

The panel was made up of Hastings District councillor Jacoby Poulain, mayor of Central Hawke's Bay Alex Walker and a board member for Taradale Primary School, Rachel Read.

While the discussions was aimed at encouraging women to run in upcoming local elections, there was no shying away from some of the realities of public life.

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Scott recalled a time when regional councillors were spammed with emails of abuse during the discussions around the Ruataniwha Dam.

At the time councillors did not have regional council email addresses, so the emails were coming to their personal emails.

"We were bombarded by thousands of emails a day.

"There were a number of us who were receiving the same treatment."

She advised not sharing a personal email while a councillor, and setting up a second email while running so you are easily contactable, but able to switch it off when need be.

She said it was normally only an issue when there is a controversial issue, such as the Ruataniwha Dam.

The cost of running for council was also discussed, however, members of the panel had ideas for keeping costs low, such as street corner meetings, flyers and door-knocking.

Hastings District and Napier City are both close to having gender parity at their councils.

At Hastings seven of the 15 councillors are women, including the mayor and deputy mayor. In Napier six of the 13 councillors are women, including th deputy mayor.

Three of CHB's nine councillors are women, and in Wairoa two of seven are.

There is only one woman on the regional council, of nine councillors.