Josh Chandulal-Mackay is not only Whanganui's youngest councillor, he's one of the first of the incumbents to put his hand up for re-election in October.

On top of that he has announced a maiden tilt at the Whanganui District Health Board.

In the 2016 local body election he got 7437 votes, the ninth highest total in the district.

His work as councillor has been "fairly consuming" this year and he gave up his part-time job at Craigs Investment Partners in January.


His council work can take 10 to 40 hours a week and spends time in the evenings and weekends, reading in preparation for meetings and responding to comments and questions on social media.

The current crop of councillors had a fractious start in 2016, when one group wanted to revisit a decision about Whanganui's Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The tone has changed considerably for the better, Chandulal-Mackay said.

"Really we all wanted the same thing. We are fairly good at keeping it issues-based rather than getting personal."

He puts commitment and integrity well ahead of ideology in a good councillor.

"If everybody agrees, it doesn't make for good decision making. You need other ideas to test where you are at."

Chandulal-Mackay said he'd like Whanganui to be a vibrant and welcoming place, that both provided opportunity and looked after its vulnerable.

He's proud of the new community library hubs, the town centre regeneration progress and he wants to keep pensioner housing and make progress on climate change and other housing needs.


As well as studying politics and psychology at Massey University he's seen how other people live by volunteering in rest homes and going door-knocking.

Since 2016 he's been the deputy chair of Whanganui's Youth Services Trust, which provides social workers, counsellors and sexual and mental health care to young people.

It's given him a taste of health governance, and taught him how critical healthcare is to a fair and equitable society.

So he decided to "step that up" and stand for Whanganui District Health Board as well as for council.

"I don't like staying in the same position. I like to challenge myself," he said.