Acting mayor keen to let councillors shine
By Nicki Harper
Sandra Hazlehurst is ready and primed to keep things moving along while she fills in as mayor until November’s by-election.
She was already settling into one of the armchairs in the mayoral office in Hastings yesterday as Lawrence Yule packed up, planning to add a womanly touch to the place starting with replacing the plastic plants with fresh flowers.
The desire for convivial surroundings may be due to her plans to be a full-time acting mayor, in the office every day, with plenty to be getting on with including long term planning, which starts on July 7, she said.
“We have four new councillors and it’s an opportunity for them to bring their priorities to the table, and to hear what the community want through the Annual Plan.”
Although the Havelock North water contamination had changed some of the priorities in the Long Term Plan, addressing drinking water safety would be continue to remain at the forefront alongside ongoing issues like urban development planning, protecting fertile soils, the coastal strategy, and reinvigorating the CBD.
In the shorter term, park upgrades, including Cornwall Park, would be under consideration, as well as acting quickly to investigate introducing electronic eyes to monitor parking meters in Hastings, she said.
She was excited about the make-up of the current council and its potential, which she wanted to harness through the individual councillors rather than focusing on herself and acting deputy mayor Simon Nixon.
“I have a different leadership approach – in the past a deputy mayor would share the roles and duties with a mayor, but I see myself as empowering all councillors to have an increased level of responsibility.
“I’m also interested in succession planning, it’s important or [for] me to encourage new councillors through and allow everyone to showcase what they are doing.”
With her intention to stand for mayor at the upcoming by-election on November 24, the next five months will give her, the council and the community an opportunity to assess that leadership style.
The mayoral chains are also in the sights of councillors Simon Nixon and Bayden Barber, but to date no other councillor or community member have made any announcements.
Outgoing mayor Lawrence Yule, who officially resigns on August 28, offered his view that it was most likely the role would be filled from within.
“I have not heard of an external candidate that I think could beat any of the incumbents.
“It’s rare in New Zealand for someone to become a mayor who’s not been on council first.”
The by-election will be held on November 24 to fill Mr Yule’s role and that of councillor Adrienne Pierce, who was also due to be taking unpaid leave of absence from June 23 to focus on her efforts to become National MP for Palmerston North.
Photo caption – PRIMED: Sandra Hazlehurst, filling in as mayor until November’s by-election. PHOTO/FILE