Registered nurse and former Army medic Antony Woollams is trying his hand at politics, standing for New Zealand First in Rangitikei this election.
Currently employed as a paramedic, the first-time candidate is a newcomer to politics, but believes his party has the policy and experience to make a real difference.
Woollams, born in Whanganui and now a resident of Ashhurst, says he fell in love with Rangitīkei when he was based at Linton Military camp, while serving as a medic in the Army, later becoming a nursing officer.
"During the course of my career I was really interested in moving here and ultimately did," Woollams says.
"We have a huge electorate. We have quite diverse constituents too, everything from obviously our farming community all the way through to small towns and rural towns, all backed up by the hub of Whanganui and the hub of Palmerston North."
Woollams says that the electorate is one of the most diverse in the country, and needs a representative that supports the ongoing growth and diversification of the area.
"We have quite diverse needs in this Rangitīkei electorate. I bring a social conscience and an awareness of the greater need of where we're going to fit in the future with the rest of New Zealand," he said.
"I'm interested in the differences we can make to rural people and small towns on the ground. I'm interested in knowing how we can start moving forward as an electorate with the change in economic circumstances due to Covid-19."
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Asked how he entered politics, Woollams says it started at one of the most grassroots levels possible.
"I live in Ashhurst, and we had a lot of problems with the change of our roading system when the [Manawatū] Gorge closed. Suddenly we were having 18-wheeler trucks charging past our primary school at 70-80km/hr. That's one of the reasons I got into politics, I jumped on the steering committee of our local community."
As for why New Zealand First, Woollams was adamant it comes back to his background.
"I'm quite diverse," he said. "I cover the medical field, but also the military field. My background, when you go back generations, my family were farmers. For me, I think New Zealand First is one of the only parties left in Parliament that has a common sense and practical edge to them, I really do."
Despite a poor showing in recent polls, Woollams isn't ruling out his chances.
"It's never over until it's over. It's a very interesting election, and I think it's the election of our generation."
"Never underestimate New Zealand First."