The Northern Advocate and NZME Northland digital and radio platforms, are giving voters a chance to hear why the candidates standing deserve a vote on October 17.
Northern Advocate reporter Imran Ali and The Hits Northland day announcer Charmaine Soljak have interviewed candidates from the three Northland electorates: Whangārei, Northland and Te Tai Tokerau.
Over the next two weeks, The Hits Northland, the Northern Advocate, and the Northland Age will introduce you to the candidates, so you can be well informed before you cast your vote.
Today, we look at some of the candidates in the Northland electorate.
Substantially investing in Northlanders so they acquire the skills and the ability to transition to new jobs will be a key focus for flamboyant MP Shane Jones post Covid.
The Provincial Growth Fund champion will again contest this year's election under the New Zealand First banner and says he is proud to have driven economic growth back in the region through infrastructure, training and addressing years of neglect with initiatives such the PGF.
"I had three years of opportunity when I became a politician. Winston Peters and the New Zealand First Party gave me that chance to hop in that waka and going into this election, I am full of enormous personal satisfaction that our Government has been able to drive the economic agenda in the north."
To listen to the Hits Northland host Charmaine Soljak's interview click here</a> http://bit.ly/TheHitsShaneJones
Going forward, Jones said Northland needed to find better solutions so firms could bring in the talent and the rare skills they desperately needed and cited the example of the energy company in Ngawha which struggled to get the necessary skills and highly talented people for their projects.
"So, number one, the North must not become a hermit kingdom. Number two, we need bespoke solutions that are developed with industry to the extent they need to bring in foreign talent, they can still do it.
"Number three, we need to substantially invest in our own people that they can transition to new jobs and firms need to enjoy small but important things such as a handsome depreciation regime to incentivise them to spend their own money and boost productivity."
Housing was a major issue and he advocated a system where relocated houses should not be required to have a fresh building permit when it came to Māori housing.
"I think that local government has shown that it struggles to both understand and service the needs of Māori on multiply-owned Māori land, and for many Māori families, struggling with decent housing outcomes unless they have access to their own land, I doubt they'll ever afford new sections.
Jones said he had always supported the idea the Crown should hold land ownership and create housing solutions that meant young families bought the house but only ever paid a peppercorn rental for the land until such time they could buy it.
Those solutions, he said, were well-known overseas and until we took such bold steps he remained pessimistic about housing solutions.
Not just the Crown, but private property owners should be able to develop and rent out houses, he said.
Jones finds the meth scourge a deeply emotional topic but admitted we could not jail our way out of the problem, referring to the need to take a flexible and targeted approach rather than sending addicts to prison.
"I think one area where we significantly dropped the ball over the last three years and if I had been the health minister, we put a lot of money into P but there's precious little evidence that the health department have used that money into improve the situation."
He said Finance Minister Grant Robertson agreed to adapt the criteria of the PGF that enabled genuine money to be invested into service providers to deal with the victims and families suffering from P.
Jones regards himself as "a poster boy" mandated by Peters to agitate and advocate for the expansion of Northport through the relocation of the Ports of Auckland.
On local government restructure, he wants to see territorial authorities in Northland move towards a shared services model — a better system of decision making and a more expeditious way of allocating resource consents for economic growth.
He believes science should triumph over ideology when it comes to the vexed topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
"I've always felt that the solutions to the possum plague may very well lay in science as opposed to purely hunting, or poisoning.
"I also think that different strains of grass and different types of crops we should have a system that is flexible enough that we can learn from cutting-edge science and not be intimidated by ideologists in closing down the ability of science to evolve how we get from volume to value, economically speaking," Jones said.
His parents, both grandmothers and more recently his party leader have been people who inspired him the most.