Election season is now in full swing with 29 candidates vying for 12 seats on Whanganui District Council.
It's a council that will be led by incumbent mayor Hamish McDouall who has been elected unopposed for a second term.
But what does the Whanganui community think the big issues this election are and what does it want from the incoming council? Jesse King finds out.
In recent weeks, the Whanganui Chronicle has been profiling the candidates on what Whanganui's big issues are and what they think they can do to help resolve them.
Housing and rates are two words uttered frequently when canvassing people on the upcoming local body elections.
Although rates is the perennial hot topic in any Whanganui District Council election year, a housing shortage has not been seen in the agenda for some time.
Salvation Army transitional housing social worker Scott Taylor-Moore said the housing situation in Whanganui is the worst he has seen and the biggest issue Whanganui is facing and needed to be a focus of the new council.
"I've been doing frontline social work for more than 25 years both here and abroad and I've never seen the demands on housing such as I'm seeing now," he said.
"If a family has all of the other issues that a family often has, none of them can be addressed until they've got a secure, stable and healthy living environment."
The Whanganui District Council was prompted to create a housing strategy after the release of a Housing Snapshot Report at the end of 2018.
Taylor-Moore said the council's housing strategy proposal was well-received by community agencies at the coalface of dealing with homelessness.
"They've done the groundwork of trying to ascertain the community views and also trying to get the community involved.
"I think it's at the point where they're wanting to start implementing things. They are trying to prioritise it and it's quite heartening to see that."
Taylor-Moore said this year's election has a good pool of candidates, some of whom had contacted him to discuss housing.
Housing was also brought up when the Chronicle canvassed voters on the streets this week.
Whanganui voter Trevor Diprose, who moved to the River City from Wellington about eight years ago, said affordable housing was especially an issue for renters.
"There have been a lot of investors coming and buying all these houses which has deprived the local people of affordable houses," Diprose said.
"It has pushed the house prices up high and the rents high with it. The prices are beyond what the incomes are supporting."
The problem does not affect Diprose directly because he owns a home, but he has watched with a keen eye as prices race up "beyond reality".
Diprose said that no candidate stood out as being particularly good or bad to him, but he would be voting and he wished all 29 good luck.
Of course, housing was not the only concern for Whanganui residents.
Stephaine Glendinning was at Kowhai Park which she said was awesome for her young children; however, she was concerned about what they would do when they grow up.
"There's nothing here for teenagers," Glendinning said.
"There's nowhere for them to hang out, such as youth spaces. That's why they commit a lot of crime. If you look at all the cars that are getting stolen and the car crashes, they're all teenagers, 13 to 17-year-olds."
Glendinning used to hang out in an arcade near the Embassy 3 cinema when she was a teenager, where as little as 20 cents could keep her and her friends entertained.
Now, she says students are finishing school and roaming the streets at all hours of the night.
Glendinning said someone always stands out to her with something that they say heading into an election and if she believes they will follow through, they will get her vote.
Wanganui Ratepayers Association chairman Dave Hill believes there are some good candidates vying to become councillors and others that people know very little about.
Hill said the association would like the newly-formed council to focus on the blowout of costs for the redevelopment of the Sarjeant Gallery.
"Central government has promised $10 million, but only on the condition that the rest of the funds are raised by local donations or the council."
Hill said the association was "obviously" concerned about a 3.7 per cent average increase in rates, arguing there could have been a nil rise if council had deferred or not engaged in certain projects.
"We'd just like to see more prudent spending. We may want a nice flash council foyer with new carpet and new paint, but did we really need it?
"Instead of spending [money] on refurbishment of the council building when our debt is something like $90m, we should have been a lot more cautious about committing to further expenditure."
In a written statement the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce said it agreed with the ratepayers on council spending.
It said the council must take a responsible and transparent approach to spending.
"Clear and detailed financial records, including budgeted spend and actual spend for all council departments and council controlled organisations should be publicly available," the written statement said.
"Councillors need to ask the right questions regarding what, where and why council controlled organisations are spending ratepayer funds on any given project."
Other key issues for the Chamber included developing iwi relationships and the effect of climate change on things like the riverfront and port development.
"Talk to the business community about what you want to achieve.
"We haven't had any public information on some of the district's key projects for years now."
Local elections are run as a postal vote and residents should receive voting forms between September 20 and 25.
The local authority election will be held on Saturday, October 12.