At least seven candidates are now expected to contest the Napier seat at the general election.
The latest challenger for Labour MP and Minister of Police Stuart Nash is Ian Gaskin, who retired to electorate northern extremity Tuai three years ago, after 20 years running Wellington taxi company Gold and Black and a smaller business in Canterbury after the earthquakes.
Confirming his candidacy ahead of the closing of nominations on Friday, Gaskin has had previous campaign experience, seeking the Labour Party presidency once in the 1980s and standing for United First at the general election in Wigram in 2011, a Christchurch East byelection two years later, and Christchurch Central at the last election in 2017.
Partner and Hawke's Bay connection Bub Raukawa died in February this year and he decided to tackle another campaign, on a platform of drug law reform, law and order and other issues, including roading.
He becomes the second candidate to declare as an independent in Napier, where there had otherwise not been an Independent candidate at a general election since 1999.
Nash, seeking a third term since returning his Napier-to-Wairoa electorate to the Labour Party caucus after the retirement of three-term National MP Chris Tremain in 2014, is the only one of the seven in this year's race who also stood in 2017, when he had a majority of 5220 over one-bid-only National candidate David Elliot.
At least nine candidates are expected in Hastings-based Tukituki, including National Party MP Lawrence Yule and three others who challenged him in his successful first bid in 2017, while six, including sitting list MPs Kieran McAnulty (Labour) and Ron Mark (New Zealand First), and four have declared they are standing in Māori electorate Ikaroa-Rawhiti.
Among the others is Advance New Zealand's first candidate in the Hawke's Bay-Wairarapa region Carl Peterson, who says he was invited by New Zealand Public Party founder Bill Te Kahika who became co-leader for Advance NZ as the parties agreed on a joint campaign.
Only Labour and the Green Party are expected to have candidates in all four electorates.
Nominations close at noon on Friday but will go through a check process before being announced on Saturday. Advance voting begins on October 3, and election day is October 17, with preliminary results being progressively released from the polling booth closing time of 7pm.
People who will be aged 18 or over up to and including polling day will be eligible to vote in the election and two associated referendums, on cannabis law reform and on euthanasia.
Candidates currently known to Hawke's Bay Today are:
Napier (includes Wairoa): Deborah BURNSIDE (New Conservative), James CROW (Green), Ian GASKIN (Independent), Judy KENDALL (Act), Stuart NASH (Labour), Katie NIMON (National), John Clive SMITH (Independent).
Tukituki (includes Hastings, Havelock North, Flaxmere): Jan DAFFERN (Act), Anna LORCK (Labour), Romana MANNING (Legalise Cannabis), Nick McMINN-COLLARD (New Conservative), Chris PERLEY (Green), Carl Peterson (Advance New Zealand), Melanie PETROWSKI (One), Allister TOSH (Future Youth), Lawrence YULE (National).
Wairarapa (includes Central Hawke's Bay, Dannevirke): Mike BUTTERICK (National), Warren BUTTERWORTH (New Conservative), Roger GREENSLADE (Act), Kieran McANULTY (Labour), Ron MARK (NZ First), Celia WADE-BROWN (Green).
Ikaroa Rawhiti (East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa): Elisabeth KEREKERE (Green), Heather Te AU SKIPWORTH (Māori), Kelly THURSTON (Outdoors), Meka WHAITIRI (Labour).