Hastings District Councillor Damon Harvey has decided to run for mayor saying it's time for "stronger leadership".

He said he wanted to advance Hastings through strong leadership rather than a "sit on the fence approach".

"I want the community to have a strong alternative option to the current governance led by the Mayor.

"We have wasted over $1 million of ratepayer money by not being decisive on a range of issues such as the Te Mata Track and Cape Kidnappers.


"It took us years to approve the building of a sea wall to protect Clifton Beach, but by then the damage had already been done.

"For Hastings' success and future prosperity we need more action now. I believe I am the leader to deliver that," Harvey said.

Hastings born and bred, Harvey was the highest polling new councillor in the 2016 Hastings District Council elections.

In 2017, former Mayor Lawrence Yule resigned to successfully pursue becoming National MP for Tukituki.

The subsequent byelection was won by Sandra Hazlehurst. Simon Nixon, Bayden Barber, Stuart Perry, Allister Tosh and Waitawhara Tupaea competed with her for the role, but not Harvey.

Harvey said his first term, where he has gained notoriety for his strong stance against gangs, had been a stepping stone for him and he was now ready.

"With a growing family of five ranging from school age to teenagers and young adults, including four living at home, I offer leadership that's more relevant to a larger proportion of our community.

"I want to ensure Hastings is the engine room for business and a great place to live for families.


"Yes, we have real challenges, but we also have huge and exciting opportunities. I'm saying let's go for it and advance Hastings in a far more positive and proactive direction."

Flaxmere and Havelock North both needed more focus from Hastings council, he said.

"Flaxmere needs special and urgent attention. I lived in Flaxmere as a child and I want it to be what my parents dreamed it to be – a safe place to bring up a family. It hasn't been shown much love by council over the years and it's time it did.

"We need to create opportunities for Flaxmere's young population to prosper."

Harvey said he would revive efforts for a new school in Havelock North and is keen to reduce growing pains within the Havelock North centre.

"Havelock North wasn't designed for a population nearing 20,000...


"New residential developments in Brookvale and Iona will see over 600 new houses built in the next 5-10 years and as a parent of a child at Havelock North Primary School, I know the pressures of huge growth in school rolls."

Hazlehurst, who is 18 months into her first term as Mayor, has already announced plans to stand again.

She said it was "great" to see there is interest in local government leadership.

"All of the region's councils are working together to encourage people to stand for local government and we welcome all candidates.

"It is vitally important people take part in this democratic process to support our people and to make a difference for our community and represent our communities' needs."