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Former MP to run for Mayor

John Hayes swears he never intended to run for South Wairarapa mayor.

“I would have said six months ago you could pull out a gun and shoot me if I’d gone anywhere near it.”

But the former MP for Wairarapa has apparently had a change of heart, entering the race on Monday for the seat currently occupied by Adrienne Staples, who will not stand again.

Mr Hayes said he brings a lot of “governing” experience to his candidacy and, as a three-term National MP, knows his way around bureaucracy and “the Wellington system”.

“Here in the Wairarapa people talk to each other, but when you’re dealing with the Wellington bureaucracy then you have to do your talking on paper.”

Mr Hayes, 69, has lived in Greytown for 18 years.

He has two children and four grandchildren.

He said his three main campaign policies revolved around keeping rates increases below inflation, bringing in greater efficiency throughout council, and using his “change management” experience to guide the council through a likely amalgamation process.

But more than that, he said had “good common sense”, an attribute sometimes lacking around council tables.

Mr Hayes said he had been spurred into standing for mayor after becoming interested in the handling of the Waiohine flood management scheme.

Last month about 100 Greytown people “unanimously” cast a vote of no confidence in Greater Wellington Regional Council’s flood protection plans for the town at a public meeting.

The meeting was called by a group of 17 Greytown ratepayers, including Mr Hayes.

He described the consultation process to date as “shoddy”.

“The people really feel they’ve not been listened to and run roughshod over.

“After that I started having a serious look at [the mayoralty].”

He said some councillors in Wairarapa had been around for “over two decades”.

“You have to ask the question, if you’re going to do something, why haven’t you done it?”

Other candidates so far running for the South Wairarapa mayoralty are Graham Higginson and Liz Mellish.

Current Deputy Mayor Viv Napier has also indicated that she will stand.


  1. John is absolutely right, the FMP is massively flawed. According to GWRC on one corner of a front lawn floods will be 1.4 metres deep and 20 metres away on the level at the other corner of the plot, floods will be only 40cm deep. They want to spend $10m and cause millions more in SWDC fees, house build costs and so on over tens of years based upon a highly flawed model and where clear proof of bullying exists.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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