Labour's three party-leader candidates spoke to Bay of Plenty members last night about the importance of a unified front before the next elections.
David Cunliffe, Shane Jones and Grant Robertson all spoke to an audience of 120 party members and affiliates at the Wesley Centre on 13th Ave as part of an 11-day tour around the country.
Mr Cunliffe said he did not want today's children to be the first generation to do worse than their parents in this country. "We're on 31 per cent [of public support] and we need to be on 41 per cent by next year. We need to chose a leader who is ready to fight.
"We need to be a strong, true, red Labour Party, not some light blue imitation of National," he said. "I am ready to lead Labour to victory right now, we have to win next year for the people out there who need us to fight in their corner because they can't afford to."
Mr Jones said he was an unorthodox candidate whose actions had not conformed to what many people would like to see as a Labour MP.
"We are not going to get rid of this Government by telling people how bad they are. We need to instil among New Zealanders a reason to vote Labour.
"Unless the party moves past its historic metropolitan strength and moves back into the regions I can't see we will ever govern again. I want to give something to our party that makes us the natural choice of New Zealanders."
Mr Robertson said John Key had told New Zealanders the asset sales referendum was a waste of money, but democracy was never a waste of money.
"We heard from other New Zealanders what went wrong at the last election, we were very good at telling New Zealanders what we were against but not so good at telling them what a Labour Government would be good for."