Whanganui and Partners will enter the city in the Intelligent Community Forum's Smart 21 awards again next year after councillors questioned this year's absence.

The Intelligent Community Forum is an international think tank which helps communities adapt to a digital economy.

Each year it selects the 21 cities out of its membership which best demonstrate the forum's mission.

Whanganui has been named in the top 21 consistently over the past few years and in 2015 it was placed in the top seven.

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At this month's Whanganui District Council meeting mayor Hamish McDouall questioned why Whanganui was not entered this time.

"I'm just thinking we're streaming right now and [councillor Hadleigh Reid] is watching on a ship near Cameroon," Mr McDouall said.

"And talk of digitising a lot of our CBD businesses, there seems to be a momentum around the use of digital technology in Whanganui right at this moment, so that's what's behind my question."

Whanganui and Partners' board chairman Myles Fothergill said it would not be entering the awards this year.

"That was based on some information that we got about the value of being a member and having access to the tools and so forth," he said.

"It took a lot for the board to get its head around the whole thing. But we have paid or are paying to be full members again for another year.

"It seems as if there is some benefit in entering the awards but unfortunately the cost of that at $60,000 we felt was excessive and we could apply that value much better elsewhere."

Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan said she believed the cost was only $10,000 and was disappointed Whanganui had not been entered.

"I think it's a really seriously lost opportunity and I do question the information that's gone to the board and how it was then able to make its decision."