When senior officials from FIRST Union asked Tony Mudgway to stand for Whanganui District Council, he agreed.

"It was a bit out of the blue, and I'd never really thought about it before. But I like to help people whenever I can," Mr Mudgway said.

He now has a campaign manager and a group of helpers, and the union is helping out with resources.

Mr Mudgway, who has lived all his life in Castlecliff and Gonville, is a union stalwart. He's a union delegate at Cavalier Spinners and has been on FIRST Union's national executive for the past five years.

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He's currently working part-time at Cavalier Spinners, and part-time as a job seeker, assisting Cavalier Spinners' workers to find other work. Nearly 70 workers were laid off from the plant earlier this year.

Mr Mudgway's job seeker role is a joint initiative between Cavalier Spinners and FIRST Union.

Given his background, it's unsurprising that Mr Mudgway is passionate about employment in Whanganui.

"I want to see Whanganui grow. We've lost a lot of businesses and jobs recently, and we need to bring those back.

"I think we need to do all we can to keep young people in Whanganui," Mr Mudgway said.