NZ First has announced its candidate for the Whangārei constituency in this year's general election and his is a well-known figure in the region's economy and business sector.
David Wilson, Northland Inc's former chief executive of six years, will take on incumbent National MP Dr Shane Reti, who has held the seat since 2014.
The spot became vacant after NZ First's Shane Jones, currently a Whangārei List MP, announced his candidacy for the Northland electorate two weeks ago.
Wilson's big focus would be rebuilding Whangārei's "tanked" post-Covid economy.
"There is no reason why Whangārei – or Northland in that sense – can't be one of the most prosperous regions in New Zealand," Wilson said.
Wilson wants to see regional development projects being realised, he said, including the big five: a new ship repair dry dock in Whangārei, shifting both Auckland's port and navy base to the district, a four-lane highway for Northland and a rail link from Auckland.
"It's nuts that a whole region is connected by only one road."
He also wants to expand the digital capacity here to develop the potential of local businesses and industry.
He explained his allegiance with NZ First was because of its approach of "getting things done" and pointed at the Provincial Growth Fund, which is currently overseen by the party.
"It makes a huge difference to see things through, and not just talk about them."
Wilson said he appreciated the party for being pragmatic, smart and that it was prepared to "move through the middle" without swerving too far to either the right or left.
"They take a common-sense approach which works really well for New Zealanders."
Though born and raised in Kumeu, Wilson said he had strong connections to Northland and called it his second home, citing his family heritage that goes back to the first New Zealand settlers as well as his professional involvement with the North.
"During my time with Northland Inc, I got to know and love Northland and the people. Northland's beauty is unmatched," he said.
Wilson has a Master's in Public Policy and a PhD in Governance and Regional Economic Development. He worked as an independent adviser for the Provincial Growth Fund and is currently director of Economic Development New Zealand.
He also runs his own research consultancy company, Cities and Regions Ltd, and is a board member of social enterprise The Be. which advocates for accessibility and innovation.
Personally, Wilson describes himself as a family man who loves coaching netball and basketball. He said he gained a lot of satisfaction from watching people working as a team and achieving something together.
It's not the first time Wilson is representing NZ First in an election. In 2017, he ran for Te Atatū and came third after Labour's Phil Twyford and National's Alfred Ngaro.
Wilson was number 14 in the party's ranking list then. NZ First has not yet released its latest list.
As well as Reti, Wilson will compete with Emily Henderson (Labour), Chris Leitch (Social Credit) and David Seymour (ACT).
The 2020 General Election is on September 19.