Current acting deputy mayor Simon Nixon is in his third term as a Hastings councillor as he makes his bid to be mayor in the upcoming by-election.
Hawke's Bay Today asked all six candidates running for mayor - here is his response.
1. What is your vision for the Hastings district?
Hawke's Bay is a great place to live but statistically we are behind the rest of the country. We need to grow and diversify our economy to provide more jobs and in particular better paying jobs. We need to build more houses by making sure sufficient land is available and by encouraging higher density infill housing. I remain committed to my campaign for better air services. We need to duplicate the gains made on Auckland services by having cheaper flights to Wellington and Christchurch. Longer term we need transtasman flights. To overcome the disadvantage of a comparatively under-qualified workforce we must pressure government to correct the imbalance in tertiary educational opportunities. We are the largest population centre in the country not to have some sort of university campus. The community wants the Opera House to be restored and this must be done.
2. What steps will you take in your first 100 days to turn this vision into reality?
The above are longer-term goals. In the short term I want to see the right decision made on fixing the Manawatu Gorge. HDC must repair all the water leaks in Havelock North and Hastings and make sure there is sufficient water this summer.
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3. Name the one main area you would collaborate with other Hawke's Bay councils on.
I am determined to heal the rift between Hastings and the other Hawke's Bay councils that intensified during the amalgamation issue. In particular I want to see our councils speaking with one voice when dealing with government.
4. Are you in favour of continued chlorination for the Hastings district's drinking water?
Chlorinated water is causing skin irritation for myself and many others in the community but if this is the only way to ensure we have safe drinking water then I have no choice but to support continued chlorination. I also attended most sessions of the official inquiry into the gastro crisis. It is clear had our water been chlorinated last August, 5500 people, including myself, would not have become ill. The community should be braced for the possibility of mandatory chlorination throughout the country.
5. Do you support the controversial Water Conservation Order - why, why not?
I am not fully conversant with the Water Conservation Order but if the claims being made of the likely impacts on our growers are correct then I am likely to be strongly opposed. Until I have heard both sides of the issue I will be keeping an open mind.
6. What is the biggest asset you would bring to the council?
I have vision and determination and can make a difference as demonstrated by my decade long campaign for improved air services. I have experience in and a good understanding of finance and economics. I established my own business plus I have completed two terms as an HDC councillor. I am committed to creating a more robust economy to improve the lives of Hastings people.