The local body elections are upon us and it's time to start getting to know the people you should vote for, and those you should avoid.

There are some outstanding and selfless candidates on the long list to get into power in Hawke's Bay, but in the same breath, there will be local body candidates that should never have access to public funds.

The job attracts a strange crowd. In Palmerston North there's a mayoral candidate who's been convicted on charges of indecencies in public.

Maruna Engu won't, thankfully, lead Palmy into a brighter future, because there's other candidates to choose from.


But his bid for the job shows just how dangerous local democracy could be if there's no one interested in putting their hand up as candidates.

In Central Hawke's Bay's Ruataniwha Ward, that is the problem. Like it or lump it, four of the district's councillors will be people who didn't even have to win your approval.

No matter how good Exham Wichman, Kelly Annand, Gerard Minehan and Tim Chote are at their jobs, there is no way of knowing just how much of the public's support they actually had.

Quite frankly, that is awful for the district.

Central Hawke's Bay, like the rest of the region, fought so hard against amalgamation, but in this instance, it might have shot itself in the foot.

It's the same in Hastings' Kahuranaki Ward - one position, one candidate, race closed.

There is good news.

There will be contests for the top job in each of the five Hawke's Bay councils. Some of the mayoral races promise to be barnbusters.


National has rallied its troops and entered the race in Napier with Chris Tremain and in regional council with Craig Foss.

How well they're received will be interesting.

Their party is making little headway against Jacinda Ardern nationally, and a vote of no confidence in local body elections would be a hammer blow.

Fasten your seatbelts Hawke's Bay, because this is going to be fun (unless you're in the Ruataniwha Ward in CHB or Kahuranaki in Hastings, you guys can sit this one out).