Former anti-methamphetamine crusader and new National Government MP Mike Sabin, pledged to work on behalf of Northland to help it reach its economic potential in his maiden speech to Parliament this week.
Mr Sabin, a former police officer and head of anti-P organisation Methcon, gave what was at times an emotional speech in the House, particularly as he recalled his son's battle back to health from a near fatal rugby injury two years ago.
Mr Sabin's partner Sandra and two of his children, including television reporter Brook, were in the public gallery as he paid tribute to them, his National Party colleagues including his predecessor John Carter and Prime Minister John Key whose "outstanding leadership" in tackling P had been a "game breaker".
But he denied he was "a one trick pony" in Parliament only to further his anti-drug cause.
"Far from it. My journey into politics has come about as an evolution of many professional experiences leading me to the simple conclusion that if one wants to support their community and nation to reach its real potential there is a need to be around the tables where the decisions that most affect our communities are being made."
A combination of quality education and equality of opportunity were the essential building blocks of social wellbeing and prosperity, he said.
"I am here because I want to do all I can to ensure this environment exists to help Northland and NZ reach the obvious potential that we hold."
He had entered Parliament "with a focus to see Northland develop a whole-of-region economic plan that clearly outlines a path to reaching that potential, the barriers that may stand in the way and where the opportunities are to make our boat go faster - and there are many."
"Too often Mr Speaker Northland is singled out for all the wrong reasons. But let me make it quite clear today, the less than flattering statistics are not the failure. Our failure is that Northland is blessed with economic potential but we have no plan to achieve it - not yet anyway."