Six years out of Parliament made new Whangarei-based NZ First list MP Pita Paraone feel like "a kid in a toy shop" when he stepped back into national politics.
Mr Paraone, who was a NZ First list MP from 2002 to 2008 when he lived at Pakuranga, Auckland, became an MP again after the September 20 general election, riding the wave of the party's success in increasing its share of the party vote.
He was No8 on the party's list with NZ First's 8.85 per cent of the party vote nationally - from 6.59 per cent in 2011 - seeing it bring 11 MPs into the house.
Nowhere was the party's support more evident than in the three Northland electorates - Northland, Whangarei and Te Tai Tokerau where it polled close to 15 per cent - and Mr Paraone was proud that the party's messages resounded with Northlanders. The campaign strategy of NZ First leader Winston Peters - a fellow Northlander - was to focus solely on the party vote.
Mr Paraone said he and the rest of the party had worked hard to lift the party vote, with Mr Peters visiting Northland twice during the campaign, including a whistle-stop tour that included Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kawakawa and Paihia the Thursday before the election.
All new MPs spend much of the first two weeks after election in Parliament for induction and Mr Paraone said he felt like "a kid in a toy shop" to be back in the House.
He said his time away from the political hub had taught him to be strong in times of adversity and to make sure he fought for Whangarei and Northland inside Parliament.
"The main areas I will look at improving are Maori social and economic development and economic development in general for the North. I also want to see the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process through - that will help Maori development too - and I also want to look at the area of tourism," Mr Paraone said.
"Tourism is one of the areas that can really boost our economic development."
He also backed a multi-transport approach that included rail, roading and coastal transport options.
"I want to reinstate the rail line between Auckland and Whangarei and hopefully even further north," he said, of rail.
But he warned that New Zealand's "rock star" economy could be about to hit the rocks and a plan was needed to overcome any international downturn.
"What people need to know is that we can't just carry on with the status quo because they feel our economic situation is fairly stable. I think things are going to get much worse and there are some hard times ahead," Mr Paraone said.
"Fonterra has significantly reduced the dairy payout and that will hit farmers hard. I think there will be a lot of farmers talking to their banks about that."