High-profile human rights lawyer Michael Bott wants to fight some battles closer to home, after standing for Upper Hutt City Council.
Mr Bott said he was motivated by calls for a Wellington-based super-city.
"I don't like the communities being frog-marched into becoming satellite suburbs."
The benefits of the Auckland super-city were yet to be seen, he said.
"What you do see is local representation suffering, with a transfer of power to unelected officials, and toothless community boards."
Mr Bott, 47, said the closure of Upper Hutt District Court had also riled him.
"It was done on spurious grounds, in saying it was an earthquake risk, and it has deprived a community of 40,000 of their courthouse."
Also of concern was the fate of Housing New Zealand homes in Trentham.
"Acres of homes are boarded up, it's become a wasteland."
Mr Bott has lived in Upper Hutt for five years, but his ties go back longer, with his mother living in Ward St.
He is also standing for the Hutt Valley District Health Board, where he aims to focus on prevention programmes, and the link between the Health Ministry and care.
Mr Bott became interested in health 13 years ago after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.
"It's a bit like living with an extinct volcano, you're never quite sure when it might erupt again."
A longtime member of the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties, he said he was standing with a declared Labour affiliation.
He frequently weighs in on human rights and civil liberties issues, most recently on plans by police to track the country's worst drivers.
Mr Bott stood unsuccessfully for Labour in the Wairarapa electorate in the 2011 general election.
- © Fairfax NZ News
With festive flags and trees out this year, is council killing Christmas?Related story: Council takes the cheer out of Christmas