Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall will seek a third term in this year's local body elections but says 2022 will be his last tilt at the top job.
McDouall, who became mayor in 2016, said the decision to run again was a tough one, after what was the most difficult year of his tenure.
"I think every politician should carefully evaluate whether they stand again. Every election I've run in, I've had a conversation with my wife, and I reckon I've got one more term in me," McDouall said.
Successful or unsuccessful, 2022 will be his final tilt at the mayoralty, saying at the end of three terms, leaders can become stale.
Since becoming mayor, McDouall says his biggest source of pride has been overseeing a reputational shift for the city, which started under the tenure of Annette Main.
Gone are the days when Whanganui was predominantly associated with crime and gangs - now it's art and culture, he said.
"There was a time in this city that the media picked up on our crime stats, and the mislabelling and sloppy commentary brought us several steps back," McDouall said.
"This is a reputational project that has been a decade in the making, but we've got to keep furnishing that."
Asked what he brings to the mayoralty, McDouall pointed towards his history as a lawyer, his connections within government, and his ability to promote the district.
"I've got an eye for the next idea, and I don't think anyone can question I've spent a lot of the last five years taking advantage of media opportunities to promote Whanganui."
McDouall also pointed to the challenging time for local government, with both the controversial Three Waters proposal and local government reviews on the horizon.
He says his connection with central government is valuable, including being the Prime Minister's second cousin - a quirk McDouall coincidentally discovered when Ardern rose to the top job.
"But more importantly, standing for Labour three times alongside people like Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson - these guys are really important players, I know them pretty well.
"I must say, as this Government has progressed, the phone calls have declined a little bit, but there is still that connection."
So far, no other candidates have publicly thrown their hat in the ring for the job, but McDouall says he expects a number of people will.
In 2019, McDouall also ran for the mayoralty but was elected unopposed.
"2019 was an unusual year, and I'm certainly not expecting to run unopposed this time. I think it's healthy for democracy to have contests, but I can't say I enjoy elections - they're very hard work."
As for whether he's confident, McDouall says he likes his chances.
"I don't feel jaded - I feel a little bit beaten-up after last year, but I feel like I've got my mojo back. I'm ready to do the job."
If elected to a third term, McDouall will become the longest-serving mayor since Chas Poynter.
Fifty-three-year-old McDouall was born in Whanganui, and attended Whanganui Collegiate. He first gained a reputation as a prolific game show contestant, winning both Sale of the Century and the 1990 season of Mastermind.
After finishing university, McDouall travelled abroad, living in Sweden, Russia and the UK, working as a journalist. He returned to Whanganui in 2001 where he worked in corporate, family and community law.
McDouall then ran for Parliament on the Labour ticket, eventually beaten three times - 2008, 2011 and 2014 - by National incumbent Chester Borrows.
In 2010, the then-41-year-old was elected to council, serving as deputy mayor from 2013 onwards. McDouall then stood for the mayoralty himself, winning the 2016 election 2900 votes ahead of Alan Taylor.