A new candidate has raised her hand for the Flaxmere ward of the Hastings District Council, saying the neighbourhood can do better.
Paula Morgan Mihaka said having lived most of her life in Flaxmere, she had experienced the good and the bad of the neighbourhood.
"Outsiders mostly hear about the bad, but there are also wonderful things about this place I am proud to call home.
"For me, Flaxmere has been a place of opportunity.
"I raised my daughters here and bought my first home here."
However, she said she had also experience challenges in Flaxmere, and understands the struggles many people in the neighbourhood experience.
"I lost my first husband to suicide and was a struggling solo mother on a benefit as I tried to raise two young girls on my own while studying to gain a university qualification."
"I understand the realities and struggles many are faced with in daily life."
Morgan Mihaka said she had worked her way up, and wanted to see others be able to do the same.
"Flaxmere has amazing opportunities, with great people doing great things, but we can do better.
"We can do better through joining together and supporting each other to overcome challenges of housing, clean water and providing a safer community."
Morgan Mihaka said she wanted to see career pathways highlighted for young people, for example by showcasing people who had achieved success in Flaxmere who can serve as inspirational role models.
She said sustainability was also important to her.
The childcare centre she manages, Morgan Educare, won a Keep New Zealand Beautiful sustainability award in 2017, and she runs regular litter clean ups along riverbanks, streets and parks.
"Flaxmere needs fresh leadership which is active in our community all year round and can independently bring our voice to the table, providing positive inspiration for a sustainable, safer future."