Around the country, mayors elected in October 2016 are reaching the half-way point in their three-year terms.

Local Focus journalist Alexander Robertson talked with Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall about the Sarjeant Gallery, earthquake strengthening, flooding and what he got wrong in his first year and a half in the job.

Asked whether he thought he had passed muster, McDouall gave himself a B+.

"I like to think I've done a reasonable job," he said.


"I might have given myself higher had we attracted more businesses and bigger businesses. We've had some but they have been smaller ones."

McDouall said the biggest challenge the council faced was financial constraints, which he believed was a common problem among councils.

"We're having to keep rates down but we do have to put in some key infrastructure."

McDouall said the council needed to work on better communication with the public on why money needed to be spent. He also identified an issue with council's relationship with iwi.

He was very positive about the new government and the Minister for Infrastructure, Shane Jones.

"I really like it. I think it's given a real injection of energy into the local government sector."

The mayor expressed concern over the potential local impact of climate change, however.

"I think this year is a chance to look ahead 30 years and plan for 10.

"What does it mean for a city in a river valley like Whanganui?"

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