'I've been asked and I'm up for it!' Shane Jones to run for NZ First in Whangarei

Shane Jones has finally confirmed he will run for election in Whangarei for New Zealand First.

Former Labour politician Shane Jones is to return to politics as a member of New Zealand First. Source: 1 NEWS

In an interview with 1 NEWS Mr Jones said "no end of people in the north have asked me to come back into politics", saying the town "needs a voice like his".

Mr Jones is confident about winning the seat as well, saying he's "absolutely confident that the Whangarei people will embrace" him. 

Whangarei has been a safe National seat in the past.

It's currently held by Shane Reti whose majority in 2014 was more than 13,000.

There are questions about how long this move has been in the pipeline.

Mr Jones quit Labour before the 2014 election and has since been the government's economic ambassador in the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Jones, a former high-profile Labour MP, left parliament in 2013 to become the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Pacific Economic Ambassador.

He was asked when he decided to run for New Zealand First and if its leader, Winston Peters, had spoken to him about it while he was acting as a diplomat. 

Mr Jones said "for the three years that I was a diplomat, never once did Winston and I ever discuss about becoming a politician, hopefully becoming a minister and forming a government." 

He says Peters, who holds Northland, has given him "a second chance lifeline in politics."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS