The battle against the Government's controversial Three Waters plan appears to have steeled a near total commitment by Napier councillors to continue the fight by deciding to seek re-election this year.
The only councillors expected to be missing from the ballot are Taradale Ward member Tania Wright, calling it quits after 18 years on the council in three digs since 1995, and two-term Nelson Park member Api Tapine, who has moved to Wairoa.
But in a surprise move first term Taradale member Nigel Simpson has announced he will launch a bid for the Mayoralty, challenging incumbent Kirsten Wise, who will seek election to a second term at the helm, reaffirmed amid denied rumours that she might seek the National Party's nomination for Napier at the 2023 General Election.
With Local Election nominations opening on July 15 and closing four weeks later, all other councillors have confirmed either to Hawke's Bay Today or to others at the table they're in for what third-term councillor and Onekawa-Tamatea Ward member Richard McGrath calls "unfinished business".
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It includes not backing-off on the Council's opposition to the plan and fighting for Hawke's Bay's proposed regional model for the challenges of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater services of the future.
Veteran councillor and Ahuriri Ward member Keith Price said the "whole council" is united it is reflected in the commitment to the Three Waters fight.
The decision of Cr Simpson to challenge for the Mayoralty, the first announcement of any such challenges this year in Hawke's Bay has possibly come as a surprise to outsiders, but Price said: "Nothing surprises me in the world of politics."
McGrath said there had been disruption in the 2016-2019 council, a term which ended with a change of Mayor and changes to five of the 12 elected council positions, had significant disruption and "nothing was achieved".
But he said that over much of the drama of the November 2019 flood, and Covid-19, and the War Memorial centre issues which had dogged the Council, the council is in a position "to get things done".
Simpson, who has a former professional career in local government employment behind him, said in a written announcement of his candidacy: "Significant change will be forced on Local Government in the next few years and Napier needs a leader who has managed through previous change and is capable of leading a significant reset in our organisation and establishing an agile responsive new organisation."