While most Hawke's Bay candidates will fighting for a seat at this year's local government election, several already know they will have a spot around the table.

In Central Hawke's Bay, half of the eight councillors will not have to fight for their position.

The Ruataniwha Ward has four vacancies and four candidates, which means current councillors Kelly Annand, Tim Chote and Gerard Minehan, and new councillor Exham Wichman, will all be elected.

In Hastings, the Kahuranaki Ward is uncontested, with Sophie Siers taking over from George Lyons who is standing down this year.

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Current CHB councillor Kelly Annand has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied
Current CHB councillor Kelly Annand has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied

Siers said she was surprised when she found out she was unopposed.

"I felt a bit disappointed too, because it was my first campaign, first time I've stood for anything, and I was really looking forward to my eight weeks of hitting the ground."

She said she would still spend the election period connecting with her constituents to make sure people were confident that she was there for the ward, and the Hastings District more generally.

She said she was not sure why others were not standing in the ward, but there were candidates who live in Kahuranaki standing in Hastings-Havelock North.

Two candidates for the Hastings Rural Community Board are also certain of their position, Tutira Community Subdivision candidate Sue Maxwell and Kaweka Community Subdivision candidate Nick Dawson.

Current CHB councillor Gerard Minehan has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied
Current CHB councillor Gerard Minehan has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied

Central Hawke's Bay chief executive Monique Davidson said she wanted to remind voters in the Ruataniwha ward they still had an important role in play in elections, in terms of voting in the mayoral, DHB and regional council elections.

She said democratic participation is a nationwide issue.

"Councils right across New Zealand are working collectively to address this and recent changes to legislation mean that chief executives have a legal responsibility to encourage people to stand in local body elections, and to vote.

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"It is important that everyone in CHB has a say on who represents our district, and the only way to do that is to put pen to paper on voting day."

Current CHB councillor Tim Chote has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied
Current CHB councillor Tim Chote has been re-elected unopposed. Photo / Supplied

Every mayoralty in Hawke's Bay will be contested, as well as every seat on Napier City Council, Wairoa District Council, Tararua District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Massey University Local Government expert Andy Asquith, himself running for Mayor of Palmerston North this year, said it was concerning there were elections across New Zealand which are not contested.

"It's not just a Hawke's Bay issue, it's a nationwide issue.

"It's concerning because in a democracy elections are meant to be contested, we're supposed to have a choice.

New Hastings District Councillor Sophie Siers says she was surprised to find out no one else was standing in the Kahuranaki Ward. Photo / Supplied
New Hastings District Councillor Sophie Siers says she was surprised to find out no one else was standing in the Kahuranaki Ward. Photo / Supplied

"If we don't have that choice then it just makes a mockery of democracy."

He said people needed to be encouraged to run in local body elections, saying the best place to start would be teaching civics at school.

He also said smaller communities, like Central Hawke's Bay, should look at whether voting using a ward system was best, or whether voting using a councillor-at-large system would work better for their community.

Davidson said at Central Hawke's Bay's recent representation review in 2018 there was strong support for the ward system.

"This system may indeed change in the future, but it's not a decision that the council can or would make independently, without the support of the CHB community for this change."

A spokesperson for Local Government New Zealand said there are many reasons why people may not stand for council.

"It may be a sign of strong incumbents, or that voters are reacting to widespread change at the previous election.

"It could also reflect a growing frustration from potential candidates at the narrow range of functions undertaken by councils in New Zealand and thus the difficulty of making serious change."

He said smaller councils tend to have a lower turnover of councillors.