In his "war room" in The Treasury, the building owned by Andrew Tripe and his wife, Carolyn Nicklin, Andrew gets down to the nitty-gritty, the reasons he's taking on the incumbent, Hamish McDouall, and running for the office of mayor of Whanganui.
A large whiteboard fills one wall, and it's an artwork of black bullet points and expanded ideas.
"I want to engage with the community to see where we go," he says. He wants his mayoralty to be guided by the people he represents, to a large degree. "What I'm keen to do is create a cross-governance forum to solve deep social problems ... and a people's forum, ratepayers, where we can sit round and have a chat about what's going on on the ground. Where are your pain points? Things like that. These are just some ideas."
Andrew has a diverse background and has "done some stuff", taking him to this point. He says future focus is important.
"I believe I've got the skills that are needed to take Whanganui forward."
"I've had some reasonably chunky roles around the world and in New Zealand as well," he says.
Andrew was the first ever Pakeha student at Kauangaroa Primary School and began his working life on the family farm.
"I think that transition from farm boy, scrubcutting and sheep shearing, to working on the largest change programme in Europe at the time with IBM, to making massive infrastructure decisions with New Zealand Refining at the executive table, to having to roll out a global strategy with National Australia Bank across 40,000 employees and four continents, including the BNZ; through that has given me this unique ability to go from the hand piece to the whiteboard."
Better living; climate resilience; connecting Whanganui to the world; differentiation through design — "arts, design, the awa and heritage, these are our points of difference, so to be able to accentuate those ..." — safety in our streets; local government reforms — The bullet points on the board have a lot to say.
Andrew has spoken with all sitting district councillors to gauge support, of which there is plenty.
Mind you, he can pretty much communicate with anyone and feels comfortable doing so.
"Everyone's got a story; everyone's got beating hearts; we're all trying to get on with life the best we can."
He has done a lot of work with local government over the years so he is no stranger to council methods and protocol.
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One thing he wants to do is raise Whanganui's profile, nationally and internationally.
"We need to say, 'here we are', and what does it look like from the outside to come to Whanganui. When we live here we see it for what it is, but sometimes we don't take an objective view." What does Whanganui offer to people coming here? "What's our story?"
Andrew and Carolyn bought the former National Bank building in 2016 when it was derelict ... "And we backed Whanganui. We bought this when we didn't know what things were going to be like. It was a symbol of our hope for Whanganui. We had a vision for it to be what it is today — The Treasury: a box of treasures of different people, different tenants, who are trying to get ahead in life and make things work for them."
He sees tough times going into the future so Whanganui needs a council able to respond to that.
"I don't want to be a 'one-issue' person. I need a balanced perspective across a bunch of things.
"As a mayor, you are there to serve the people, first and foremost."
He says the job as mayor, if it happens, has come to him. He did not go looking for it. "I have been interested in it and I'm keen to do it, but some significant community leaders have come to me."
He says while change is important and inevitable, Whanganui needs to hold on to its identity. "That community substance and the fabric that makes us who we are. That's our anchor: who we are and what we stand for ... but we also need something that will take us into the future. It's an 'and' conversation.
"Whanganui is going to be very different in years to come. How do we deliberately go there as opposed to just waiting for it to happen ... for it to be done to us?"