Election 2020: Shane Jones makes pitch for Northland

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones kicked off the party's election campaign on Sunday by making a pitch for Northland.

There was a notable absence since leader Winston Peters is recovering from surgery at home, so Jones made the centrestage move to fight for the seat that will dictate the party's survival.

Jones dubbed himself the "force for the North" - a title that once belonged to Peters. Jones used the name to remind his Labour Party Cabinet colleagues why they're sitting in the Government benches.

"[They're] forgetting they're only where they are because of us," Jones said.

He believes New Zealanders need the party because the public should "be scared of a Labour-Green Government".

But the job for Jones is to keep NZ First alive for the next generation.

The party only gained 2.7 percent in the latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll, which isn't enough to make it back into Parliament. But Jones believes winning the seat of Northland could be the saviour for the party.

Jones has a not-so-secret weapon, blatantly bellowing about the Provincial Growth Fund at any chance he gets. But Northland is doing mighty well out of it.

At the end of May, $2.1 billion of the $3 billion fund had been allocated, and $498 million of that was approved for Northland projects. 

Northland makes up 3.7 percent of the country's population, but their $498 million is 23 percent of the total funding.

"Northland has been forgotten for so long it is well and truly overdue," Jones says.