Former Whanganui mayor Michael Laws has scotched rumours that he's returning to the city for another tilt at the mayoralty.

The rumour mill has been busy in the last few days asserting Mr Laws was returning from the South Island to challenge for the position soon to be vacated by Annette Main.

But yesterday he told the Chronicle that "like all rumours (it's) 99 per cent nonsense".

"The family is settled in the south, the kids are doing well in their schools, and I won't be standing for local government anywhere."

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Mr Laws said he would nonetheless be keeping an eye on the council elections.

"I wish Annette the best in her retirement and don't envy the new mayor or council.

"There are a lot of issues to confront but the most important will remain attracting businesses and jobs to the town and the district."

Mr Laws was mayor from 2004-10 but didn't contest any council position in 2010 saying he wanted to focus on his family. He was back in 2013, beaten in the mayoral race by Ms Main but successful in winning a council seat. He had also served on the district health board.

In 2014 he resigned from council to take up a job in Timaru as development manager at Craighead Diocesan School.

He has since moved to Central Otago with his family.