One of Whanganui District Council's most frequent public attendees is taking another shot at getting to the council table.

Steve Baron is running for a seat in the hopes of becoming a "truly independent" councillor.

Baron ran for council in the 2016 election and received 5184 votes, finishing three places short of the 12th seat spot.

The unsuccessful result didn't deter Baron, who said his campaigning has continued since the last election.


"I've been involved with Whanganui Civil Defence and I go to all the council meetings because I want to be informed, and if I'm elected I want to hit the ground running," he said.

Born and bred in Whanganui, Baron moved to Auckland in his 20s and spent time in the real estate industry before starting his own advertising agency.

Now back living in Whanganui, Baron operates Steve Baron & Associates which offers advertising advice to the community.

Baron said the current council has started important projects but that the debt levels it's facing are too high.

"The decision to put money into the velodrome roofing is a good proposal, the money they've been prepared to put into the Sarjeant Art Gallery, glass blowing and Waimarie are all important projects and if we don't have these available there's no reason for anyone to visit Whanganui," he said.

"It's come to the time where we have to start focusing on reducing debt, because reducing debt could mean reducing rates."

Baron said reconsidering the maintenance costs of the Bason Botanic Gardens and possibly reducing Whanganui's public swimming pools from two to one could be ways to tackle the issue.

"These are tough decisions that need to be made and I don't feel this council has been prepared to tackle the issue yet, and the next council needs to."


Baron is a vocal supporter of the single-transferable vote (STV) voting method and lobbied council to get a referendum on Whanganui's voting system on the ballot paper this year.

"It's about keeping an open mind and being prepared to change it when the facts warrant it. It's about doing your research to make sensible decisions."