Will he or won’t he?

Stand again for local office, that is.

Of course he will … the question, which might not be so obvious, is which one?

As a variety of other local politicians have in the past — like Barbara Arnott, Christine Scott, and Kevin Rose — Lawrence Yule in his last campaign stated he would not be running for his office again.

But we all know what happens! Supposedly confronted by hordes of pleading constituents, these incumbents ultimately are ‘forced’ to re-consider, bow to their faithful followers, break their vow, and stand again.

That’s why I staunchly favour term limits for public office. The problem is too many of these characters can’t distinguish their council seat from their death bed … they linger far longer than their last fresh (which isn’t to say, good) idea.

But I digress. Back to Lawrence Yule.

Sure, Lawrence could succumb to ‘irresistible demand’ and stand once again — the fifth time — for mayor of Hastings.

And probably win again the privilege of overseeing the allocation of parking spaces on Heretaunga Street, the siting of public toilets, the size of the McDonald’s signs, and the swearing-in of new citizens.

Apart from giving BayBuzz a chance to take a whack at his broken vow, how boring … for him and for us.

Here’s a more interesting option …

Lawrence Yule should stand for the Regional Council.

1. He escapes the charge of breaking his vow.

2. He separates himself from the parochial, mostly mind-numbing, issues of Hastings.

3. Not incidentally, he separates himself from the political mantel (albatross?) of being Mr. Hastings at a time when he is determined to champion the cause of amalgamation … his avowed priority.

4. Amalgamation aside, as a regional candidate, he gives himself reason in fact to address the larger strategic issues of Hawke’s Bay … issues that are regional in scale, that the public must better understand (and could via an intelligent campaign), and that anyone aspiring to lead Hawke’s Bay to better performance must address.

5. If amalgamation and a new way of doing things in Hawke’s Bay represents the goal for CHANGE that should be sought in our 2013 local body elections, what better way — as a candidate — to demonstrate one’s commitment to that change than by shifting the objective of one’s candidacy? Arguably, not to do so sends a message of ‘same old, same old’ … just another elected officeholder who can’t let go.

6. And what’s the political downside? None. Surely after four successful district-wide mayoral campaigns, he can safely garner the 10,000 or so votes required to win a seat in the Hastings constituency of the Regional Council.

Maybe it’s just my quirky perception, but isn’t this a case of putting your candidacy where your mouth is?

Whether you’ve been for him or agin him in the past, Yule standing for Regional Council would shake up the game board … make things interesting … and, I believe, lift the debate.

Yule for Mayor — ho hum, status quo.

Yule for Regional Council — fresh dynamics, change-oriented.

Curious to hear what BayBuzz readers think.

Tom Belford

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  1. Ye Gads Tom! What a stunningly simple, clever idea! One that we, as citizens and ratepayers, should pursue vigorously!
    If my memory is still intact, there is yet another benefit – Lawrence Yule continues as Chair of Local Govt until 2015 (?) What a valuable positioning for Hawkes Bay! And, what a smart gear shift such a move would make at the very time we need to steer Hawkes Bay through tricky terrain, to prosperity! (Which is not necessarily oil & gas, or a water storage project!)

  2. Tom, congratulations on your insightful post. Once again we will be exposed to the stage management of impressionable acolytes begging our “leaders” to stand again. Both the previous and current mayor of Napier utilised this form of propaganda to justify standing for further terms. This time around the mayor and councillors in Napier will be urged to run again by their very own association–The Hawke’s Bay Democratic Action Association. This group has been formed for the sole status of retaining the region’s status quo.
    Lawrence should, and I hope, will stand for the HBRC for all the reasons you and others have recently espoused. He would easily be the highest polling candidate and the obvious choice to chair the council post election. He would be in a great position to appoint councillors who have successfully run businesses to the board of the holding company and to provide a fresh set of eyes for the socialisation of farming in CHB — ie, the dam project. In the case of the latter, a couple of dozen farmers will reap the benefits to the direct cost of 155,000 residents who are in no position to meet both the upfront expence or the ongoing maintenance.
    Better still he will be a catalyst to end the on-going poisonous relationship between the NCC and HBRC over the proposed works at Westshore Beach, which is now 3 years overdue and an expensive court case promised–from both sides.
    With Lawrence as chair he can mend the deep seated fissures and inter-city confrontational fights that have sucked the oxygen out of any promise of progress in the region — as evidenced in the latest statistics from the NCC.
    In that position he will be a prime candidate for mayor of Hawke’s Bay in 2014.

  3. If Lawrence stands for HBRC, and opposes the Ruataniwha dam, I’ll do something I haven’t done in the 4 terms he’s been Mayor. Vote for him. But I reckon there’s more chance of winning Lotto.

    He would be challenging National Party support for the project, which as John says, delivers a benefit to corporate farmers at the ratepayer’s expense. Selling some of the port is part of the plan and I can’t see Lawrence opposing that. Foss and Tremain would turn on him for sure.

    Maybe Yule will change Councils but I can’t see him changing colours.

  4. Agree – especially IF he stood for a rural seat (like Ewan’s, eg – which he could) where the change dynamic would be obvious, rather than getting “buried” as “another Hastings member”. now THAT would shake things up. but given Cynthia is his long-term 2IC, that ain’t gonna happen, is it.

  5. Whilst I agree with the sentiment is Lawrence Yule the saviour of Hawkes Bay as you have proposed? To my mind the HDC seems far more inclusive than HBRC (take the GE forum as an example), so perhaps he is in terms of bringing 21 century democracy to HBRC.

    However he cannot act alone, and needs a team of like minded councillers to affect any sort of cultural change.

    An interesting proposition Tom and well worth considering.

  6. A brilliant idea and one I hope Lawrence will seriously consider.

    He would be hard pressed to find a better way to demonstrate true regional leadership.

  7. Excellent proposal Tom! The counter weight in Lawrence’s mind is his ability to win, after all Hastings is potentially a safe seat and we all know his Deputy won’t challenge him as this could prove mutually embarrassing.
    Regional? Hmmm, from the safety of Lyndon Road, interesting indeed, but if he actually took up this opportunity then good on him! I certainly support his stance on amalgamation and here is a prime opportunity for him to really seek to break the mould!
    Lawrence may not be the saviour of Hawkes Bay, but he is light years a head of those dead beats in the Regional Council.

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