Labour Party candidate for Whanganui, Steph Lewis, came 1706 votes short of winning the Whanganui seat in the 2016 general election.
This year she says she is confident in making up those numbers, but she'll be taking "absolutely nothing for granted" along the way.
"One lesson that I learned last time was not to listen to the polls, and we're out there running a really strong ground campaign," Lewis said.
"For our team, we're looking to finish what we started in a way, and get across the line."
Lewis, who grew up in Waverley, said 40 per cent of the Whanganui electorate was rural and that there were still "some pretty big issues" in those areas in terms of access to healthcare and education.
"I also know the impact a drop in commodity prices can have on these communities, because they all employ farm workers, and the farm workers' kids got to the local school, who then employ teachers, so it's all connected.
"I've never bought into the argument that this part of the electorate is always going to be blue, I just don't believe it.
"It's all about having a vision for where we want to go in the future as an electorate, and that includes three district councils and two regions."
Despite Labour's strong position in recent national polling, Lewis said that being able to show she could be an "effective MP" for Whanganui was much more important in terms of earning votes.
"I chair Labour's Economic Development Policy Committee, and the reason I put my hand up for that is because I strongly believe in investing in the regions.
"I wanted to make sure we had a voice on that committee to advocate for the regions and make sure that policies coming through would still be effective out here."
Labour's Regional Economic Development policy was also something Lewis said she was "really excited about".
"That looks a bit different to the 'top down' approach of the Provincial Growth Fund, and it's getting in on the ground and partnering with local councils and local economic development arms.
"Rather than just saying 'we think this is worth investing in', it's about asking 'where do you guys want to head in the future? and 'what do you think is worth investing in?'
"From there it's about supporting that economic development in the region."
Lewis said that New Zealanders shouldn't become complacent when heading into the general election because in order for the country to have a " truly open and effective democracy" the responsibility rested with everyone to get out and vote, regardless of political persuasion.
"It's important that our region gets an opportunity to rebuild in a way that means everybody here can thrive."