With more than a decade of experience advising local government, music venue owner Matt Edmonds says the decision to stand for the Whanganui District Council was obvious.

"Whanganui's my home town, I'm really proud of it, I've been working within the community for a long time and I want to see it in the next three years rise to where it should be," Edmonds said.

"The great strength is that we are a very diverse community talking amongst ourselves towards a common goal.

"I've been on a number of boards and governances but significantly with Whanganui District Council Holding Company. I was on that for 12 years. We were tasked with looking at council's strategic assets and offering sound business advice and practice to them."

An example of the holding company's success is the air academy at the airport.

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"One of the things that we identified was that we had airspace here, we had an asset that was large and underutilised," Edmonds said. "So the first moves toward an air academy were made then and now we've seen it rise to the point where it's going to actually return positive dividends back into the town."

Edmonds also spoke to Local Focus about keeping rates under control, increasing pay rates for locals, preparing for tourists and looking for positives in the climate crisis.

"The regional challenges are complex but they're not really challenges, they're opportunities. They're more about making sure that our environment and the services provided are suitable to be living in.

"The council is part of a bigger picture where the region becomes the jewel in NZ's crown - I'm really passionate about that."

* Disclosure: Georgie Ormond is the partner of Matt Edmonds.

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