New Zealand First's Northland candidate Shane Jones says nobody should take the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll that shows him behind National and Labour as gospel-like result.
The poll shows he has just 15 per cent support, with incumbent Matt King of National on 46 per cent and Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime on 31 per cent.
Jones did not front on TVNZ's Q+A show yesterday morning but spoke to the Northern Advocate afterwards, saying he has always regarded New Zealand First and himself as underdogs in relation to the parliamentary seat of Northland.
"I've never taken anything for granted. It's a call to action. The poll is one single poll at the beginning of a six-week campaign and no one should take that as gospel-like result," Jones said.
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The development of Northland, he said, was a profound political and economic mission and urged voters to keep their faith in New Zealand First.
King was happy with the result but was also cautious: "It's only a poll of 500 people. You're a fool if you rest on your laurels."
He said voters weren't "stupid" and weren't being swayed by the money from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) that had been spent in the Northland region.
But Jones said the money have been allocated through PGF in response to applications made from Northland.
"It strikes me as quite bizarre that New Zealand First is somehow to be blamed for addressing the development deficit of New Zealand. The putea we've given is in reflection of that development deficit," he said.
The party vote in the poll shows Labour on 41 per cent, ahead of National on 38 per cent, Act on 8 per cent, NZ First on 7 and the Greens just below the 5 per cent threshold.
The poll had responses from 503 eligible Northland voters between July 29 and August 4.
Eleven per cent of those polled didn't want to say how they would vote or didn't know.
NZ First has been languishing at about 2 per cent in recent polls, but NZ First has usually done better on election night than in the polls.
In 2017, King won the seat from NZ First leader Winston Peters with a 1389 vote majority. Prime won 22 per cent of the candidate vote.
Prime told Q+A that she was pleased with the poll's result, and it was first time in recent history that Labour was ahead of National in the polls in Northland.
"I never take anything for granted. It's pleasing to see people supporting what this Government has been doing."
She said she was running a "two tick" campaign in Northland, as Labour was doing in all electorates.
She said if she won the seat and Labour was returned to power, it would guarantee Northland "a voice at the table".