Another think piece on provincial decline, another mention of Whanganui.

In the National Business Review last week Sir Bob Jones wrote about provincial decline and how an increase in people getting tertiary education meant young people were leaving the regions and not returning.

The Chronicle asked one of the youngest candidates for Whanganui District Council and returned university student, what he made of the columnist's theory.

"Firstly I thought it was incredibly sexist," Josh Chandulal-Mackay said, referring to Mr Jones saying "try finding a pretty girl over 20 or a young bloke in a suit in say Wanganui or Timaru and you will look in vain".

Advertisement

"That the value of a male was quantified by whether or not they wear a suit and the value of female was built on whether or not they were pretty or not. How archaic and 19 century can you get?"

Mr Jones also wrote: "Take a student heading to Victoria University from say Hawera and living in the capital for 4 years, completing a degree. Even if pursuing a conventional career such as accounting, law or medicine, never in a million years will he or she then return to Hawera for reasons I hardly need to spell out."

Mr Chandulal-Mackay, 21, said it was not true young people didn't return home after university.

"Because I've done it," he said.

"And I know other people that have done it. The problem with generalised statements like that is that you throw everyone into the same basket.

"Young people go off an go to university but the reality is they come back and they come back because communities like Whanganui are a great place to raise a family."

Mr Chandulal Mackay said he wasn't missing out on the lifestyle offered by a major city.

"But this thing is in Whanganui you're actually quite central. It's an easy two hour drive away. It's not hard to visit somewhere else if I want to get away for a bit. I consider myself to have the best of both worlds."

But he acknowledged there needed to be work done to keep jobs in Whanganui for young people to come to.

"I think we need to address it but more broadly it comes down to other issues of growth and jobs in the region.

"It's a multi-faceted issued. It's sort of a case of the chicken and the egg."