'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."

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

'We don't want our young people dying' - Northland tackles suicide head-on with target rate of zero

Northland health authorities are gearing up to fight their biggest battle against suicide, with sights set on a zero suicide rate over just a few years. 

The play 'Upstander' has been commissioned by the District Health Board and has been touring secondary schools with the aim to stop bullying and encourage teens to speak out. 

Tania Papali'i of the Northland DHB said there is not "a number right or okay for youth to be dying". 

In a three-month period, Northland had six suspected youth suicides. 

"We have a lot of poverty, we have a lot of access to drugs and alcohol. Those are all cumulative factors for suicide," she said.

Earlier this year, the government's suicide prevention panel came under fire when its draft plan didn't set a prevention target. 

Health workers in the north say even one suicide is too many. 

"I think it's achieveable. We don't want our young people dying. We're just working towards that over the next few years."

The DHB has also developed a Far North local response group, a school-based initiative and suicide prevention training programme for youth workers. 

Where can I get support and help?

Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help.

Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline 24/7 - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787
www.depression.org.nz - includes The Journal online help service
www.thelowdown.co.nz - visit the website, email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).

The DHB's also developed a Far North local response group, a school based initiative and a suicide prevention training programme for youth workers Source: 1 NEWS


Man flies off motorcycle on Auckland's Queen St

A motorcyclist has come off his bike while driving down Auckland's Queen Street today.

The rider was thrown off his bike after losing balance.

Traffic was briefly halted as pedestrians helped the rider up.

An ambulance was at the scene by chance, and checked the rider for injuries.

A man came off his motorcycle after speeding down Queen St.
A man came off his motorcycle after speeding down Queen St. Source: 1 NEWS