The mayor of Hastings says a chance to amalgamate Hawke's Bay's five councils will make the region far more likely to attract jobs and keep its young people.
A referendum on whether Hawke's Bay's five councils should merge is under way.
The proposal is to replace the Napier City, Wairoa District, Hastings District, Central Hawke's Bay District and Hawke's Bay Regional Councils with a new Hawke's Bay Council, supplemented by five local boards.
Lawrence Yule told Morning Report the region had lost its wealth over time and amalgamation could turn that around.
But Napier's mayor, Bill Dalton, would be bad for the region and create inefficient government, and if it occurred he had no desire to stand for mayor in the new structure.