• Candidates line up to contest two Hastings District Council  by-elections

Candidates line up to contest two Hastings District Council by-elections


A wide variety of candidates have stepped forward to contest two by-elections for vacant seats on the Hastings District Council.

The by-elections, expected to cost ratepayers more than $50,000, were triggered when incumbent Renata Nepe resigned from his Takitimu Māori Ward to take up a fulltime job, and long-term councillor Ann Redstone stepped away from her Heretaunga Ward seat for health reasons.

Applications for both races closed at noon yesterday with seven people putting their name forward in the Heretaunga Ward and three for the Takitimu Māori seat.

Iron Māori founder and former Te Pāti Māori candidate Heather Te Au-Skipworth threw her hat in early for the seat, saying at the time that she was ready to step back into the political arena, “given the current cultural misappropriation, and assault on our countries founding documents, He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.

Also vying for the seat is local Destiny Church Pastor Michael Ngahuka, who was at the forefront of protests against a Drag Queen Rainbow story time that was due to be held at the Hastings library before it was cancelled.

Ngahuka told Hawke’s Bay App in an interview to be published soon that he believes he should be elected because he is a man of integrity and he knows the “struggles people face on the frontline”.

The third candidate is repeat election contender, Jason Whaitiri, who is the brother of former Ikaroa Rawhiti MP, Meka Whaitiri. He has stood unsuccessfully for the Hastings District Council and the now-defunct Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in the past.

Hoping to win the Heretaunga Ward seat is Brendan Grant. In a post on his Facebook post, he says that he stands for safe communities, a thriving district and affordable rates.

“I’m married to Deanna and father to two teenage children. Part of three generations living on the fertile Heretaunga plains selling affordable fruit and veggies.”

“My work experience involves good asset performance under constrained budgets.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve you on the Hastings District Council, committed to drive growth and transformation, to get the best outcome for all rate payers. I will advocate for the prosperity and wellbeing of all our people.”

One candidate for the Heretaunga Ward who has the backing of the previous seat holder Ann Redstone is Hana Montaperto-Hendry, a qualified stainless steel engineer and owner of Saorsa Wines with her husband Alex.

Montaperto-Hendry says on her Facebook page that working hard and advocating for “people, our coast and our land is not new to me. It’s what I’ve done for years.”

Also standing is perennial election candidate Melanie Petrowski, who has stood for both the Hastings District Council and the Tukituki electorate over a number of years.

Petrowski, (pictured above) who was born and grew up in Hastings, served in the RNZAF, lived and worked in Auckland, London, and Uganda, before obtaining two certificates in education, social sciences, and pastoral care.

“I have a Diploma in Arts in Politics and International Relations, and a near completed Bachelor of Social Work, was Vice President of EIT’s Student Association and am currently on a school programmes trust board.”

“I have been called ‘a real firecracker’ because I am extremely passionate about housing, safety, families, roading and water.  More financial and emotional support is needed for those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, and I would like to advocate for them for the many millions held by charities.”

“I am against “managed retreat”, “stack ‘em and pack ‘em” housing structures, beach restrictions, fluoridation and speed reductions.  The community needs trustworthy and solution focused representation. I can be that voice.”

Another candidate is Clive resident and Director/Chef at Lavender Kitchen Catering, Shona Brewer. On her company’s Facebook post said she will be about “actions, not just words”.

“Tell me what you need and want in your community. I will listen to you. I will represent you.”

“We will be having meet and greet sessions in April.”

Sarah Greening-Smith, a candidate for the Takitimu Maori Ward in the last local government election, is this time contesting the Heretaunga by-election.

Geoff Downer, a Pakowhai resident whose property was damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle last year, is also standing in the election. He was one of a number of residents who protested at the Hastings District Council’s handling of the Category Three demolition costs. Also standing is Tāwhana Chadwick.

The Hastings District Council says that voting papers will be delivered to letterboxes of eligible voters (Heretaunga and Takitimu wards) around May 2. Voting papers must be returned by noon on the closing date: May 24

More information on the process, including candidate information and nomination forms, will be made available before February 29 here: hastingsdc.govt.nz/our-council/elections.

Hawke’s Bay App will be approaching all candidates for interviews before the elections.

Andrew Austin – Editor, Hawke’s Bay App – andrew@hbapp.co.nz