Northland - a potential powerhouse in the Beehive.

Who would have thought?

We could have up to 11 MPs with Northland ties working in Wellington. Why the sudden representation?

Ask yourself this - would it occur in a region that is flourishing?

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Probably not. I agree that Northland has been neglected politically. And for too long we have had ineffective political representation.

Roads, highways, by-passes, employment, crime, drugs, gangs, housing, health, crap cellphone coverage, crap broadband. And that's just off the top of my head.

Hence an opportunity for a new wave of MPs to stand on the national political stage and shout loudly for the region.

Winston Peters - who will probably chuckle over a single malt at being referred to as "new wave" - isn't saying anything new about the Marsden Point deep-water port that is not being used to its full potential.

Can he get the job done? Others before him have failed.

We should acknowledge that handing out money is appreciated - the Government came to the Hundertwasser party in Whangarei with a round of multimillion-dollar funding. But handing out money is easy.

Who waded through bureaucratic and local government political mud for years to get that project across the line? A group of passionate, committed locals.

So for any politician lucky enough to get elected on the 23rd - we want your passion and commitment as well as your money, thank you.

Handing out money is easy.

A $50 million project was announced yesterday for Whangarei Boys' High School. Great stuff for the school and it might also earn National some votes. It's not all government money by the way - it will be a public-private partnership (PPP).

Did that project happen because of political intervention and demands, or is it a long-overdue project that the school has been pushing for for years?

And shouldn't our teachers and students have the right to teach and learn in a decent working environment as of right.

The school fell into disrepair through National's long tenure in the Whangarei seat - the PPP suggests the project is now beyond something the Government coffers can cope with.

Which could have been avoided if the school hadn't been left to fall into disrepair in the first place.

Not something that you would have heard yesterday during the celebratory photo opportunity for Bill English and co, but believe me, there were bystanders observing the irony.

English squared off with Jacinda Ardern this week in the first debate between the two major party political leaders.

It was like watching a pair of accountants argue politely over the lunchroom water cooler.
It wasn't exactly poodle versus poodle, but there was very little pitbull.

English is right - I can't buy petrol with Ardern's passion. But Ardern's lack of financial detail is similar to the stance English himself once took - he didn't deny this.

Bring on the next few debates, and the noise behind made in and about Northland.

And go to the public meetings being held - Te Hiku Media's Forum North meeting tomorrow is for all three parties, the Advocate is organising another at Forum North for the Whangarei electorate on Thursday.

For once, the election is exciting -it can only be good for our region.

Got a question for a Whangarei candidate?
On Thursday night at 6pm at Forum North is a Whangarei electorate candidate meeting, organised by the Northern Advocate and supported by The Hits and the Chamber of Commerce.

Send us a question for the candidates and we'll select the best seven (one each) for the candidates on the night.

Email elections@northernadvocate.co.nz