Tim Dower: Why Northland will be the contest of the election

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jun 2020, 10:06AM
Shane Jones is running for the seat. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Tim Dower: Why Northland will be the contest of the election

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jun 2020, 10:06AM

So Shane Jones will stand for New Zealand First in Northland.

National's Matt King holds it, not by much. But he did take it from New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at the last election.

So, if he can beat the charismatic leader of New Zealand First, can he beat the charismatic heir-apparent?

It won't be easy.

Jones likes to call himself the Prince of the Provinces, and he's been spreading lashings of taxpayers' lolly about.

Money for four-laning the main road, which is long overdue. Money for the railway upgrade, also long overdue. Money for forestry and tourism, and so on.

You wouldn't necessarily say pork-barreling... bacon buttying maybe?

Now his opponent, Matt King, picked up a couple of spokesman roles in the recent reshuffle - regional development for the North Island...and associate transport.

After the Budget, he warned we're heading for an inflation catastrophe and he reckons we'll end up like Zimbabwe.

So who wins?

Well, Jones has it hands down on charisma - pizzazz - but then you'd also give that to Winston, and King beat him.

Labour has already ruled out an Epsom-style deal that would gift Jones a good chunk of those 8000 or so votes Willow-Jean Prime got last time.

The Prime Minister said months back "you can bet" her party will be campaigning at full capacity.

We'll see. But if Jones fails and New Zealand First doesn't get 5 per cent, those famous dog tucker predictions will finally come to pass.

My pick is this is the contest of the election.