It was a low-key affair when David Parker rolled into Tauranga yesterday and spoke to a quiet gathering of 28 people.
From the pulpit in the Wesley Methodist Church Hall the Labour Party deputy leader did not make a grand entrance to Eye of the Tiger like Kim Dotcom and there were no security guards in sight.
He addressed the mostly middle-aged or older audience with a well-versed speech focused on politics not drama.
He told the Bay of Plenty Times that under Labour wood exports would have more added value because more processing would be done here, with major spin-offs for the region.
"Many of those logs sit on the wharf raw. We want everyone in KiwiSaver so we have more capital investment that can be spent in productive investment rather than speculation."
Red Stag Timber had indicated it would invest $100 million to expand its company under Labour policy, he said.
Tauranga was the fastest growing regional city in the country and while it had a "wonderful climate" and "well-educated workforce" affordable housing and low wages could hinder growth.
Labour planned to introduce a 15 per cent capital gains tax, ban foreign buyers and build 100,000 houses nationally over the next 10 years.
"A report out from the OECD says New Zealand housing is one of the least affordable relative to income in the world and that is terrible. Home ownership is also the lowest it has been in 60 years and falling."
Money was being sucked into houses instead of the economy and wages, he said. Gaps were developing between the regions and big cities, with 70 per cent of new jobs in Auckland and 20 per cent in Canterbury.
"Our polices push money away from speculation into productive investment and with that you actually have to lift wages. We have working poor so Labour is going to lift the minimum wage by $2 an hour."
Company director Chris Rapson, who attended, said the election "was not about pizzazz" and Mr Parker did not need to dance on the stage.
"I think in one regard I am happy Kim Dotcom is running because in the last election we had 800,000 people that chose not to vote and I think that is a disgrace. If Kim Dotcom does nothing else but provide an avenue for some of those young people to cast a valid vote then he will have done some service to New Zealand."
What Labour policy do you most relate to and why?
"I like their idea of making Kiwisaver compulsory. If inflation is too high Labour will take money out of the economy by requiring people to pay more contributions to Kiwisaver and I think that is good."
- Martin Dumbill, 74,Tauranga
"Capital gains tax because I think people earn income in many ways. Everyone that earns a normal income are taxed and I don't see why other people at the end of the scale should not also be taxed on the gains."
- Chris Rapson, 60, Tauranga
"The polices that effect me are around housing, environment and taxes. I don't know enough about their polices but I tend to see things from a holistic point of view but I am hear to listen to what they have to say."
- Jo Wills, 37, Tauranga
"All I want to do is vote for Labour because I have been a Labour supporter all my life. But when it comes to policy I support their stand on tax."
- Wi Piahana, 70,Tauranga