Andy Asquith arrived in New Zealand 15 years ago. Since then he's been working at Massey University researching and writing about local body politics.

Asquith is a Master of Public Administration and is hoping to transfer his professional skills into politics, standing for mayor and council in Palmerston North.

"When I go back to the UK I am a foreigner and I am very proud to be a foreigner. I am a Kiwi with a Yorkshire accent," Asquith said.

Asquith directs the MPA programme at Massey, which is the only postgraduate qualification for local government managers.


"I'm passionate about good local government and I have the pleasure of working here at Massey where I am able to research and write about local body politics in New Zealand.

"I am standing because I want to bring some of that passion, some of that experience and expertise to help take what the council is doing - take it from being good to being great.

"I've been to many council meetings this year and a theme that keeps recurring is the lack of consultation and engagement. That needs to change.

"One of the things I've noticed is the council will quite often leave the engagement to officers when that's part of councillor's role. And I know councillors do a lot of engaging as it is, but clearly they're not doing enough and in the right way."

In a video interview with Local Focus, Asquith talked about the need for greater transparency, standing for democracy and efficiency in governance.

"It's about asking difficult questions," he said. "I'm a Yorkshireman therefore I'm an awkward bugger, and I'm not known for being backwards in coming forwards.

Voting papers must be returned by post or into ballots at libraries by October 14.

"Obviously I would like people to vote for me but the point of people voting is very very important."

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