Some of the district's biggest issues such as housing, employment and youth services are in the sights of Whanganui District Council candidate Mary Bennett.

Establishing a youth hub where the younger generation's digital skills can be cultivated is one aspect of council the candidate would like to explore.

"I'm really interested in knowing what the youth committee is currently doing, what their reach is and what change they've seen in the last five years in the community," Bennett said.

"There are kids who are sitting at home on their laptops and phones, and skills being used there, but we need to ask ourselves if there's a space they can bring those skills together beyond the game they're playing."


Bennett identified the port redevelopment and Sarjeant Galley refurbishment as projects the council has done well, but said housing is one area that needs attention.

"Housing is huge and there are so many dimensions from social housing, pensioner housing, and considering new development and what it looks like."

This campaign marks the first time Bennett has put her hand up for a role in local government.

"I'm a long-term public servant so I know what it's like to work in that arena, and I know that the local government space is slightly different," she said.

"It's about asking where can we push boundaries, have we considered a different approach in certain areas, what do community partnerships really look like, and if we taking the entire community along with us."

The council candidate is also seeking appointment to the District Health Board (DHB), after chairing iwi relationship board Hauora A Iwi for the past four years.

"I've heard all the challenges there are in the health sector and I've been involved in big pieces of work alongside the DHB and I absolutely want to be a part of that.

"We're at a really critical time with both council and the DHB because we know what the government is thinking and we know there are a lot of things happening on a national scale, so what does that look like in Whanganui? It's about how we can influence and create positive change."