Labour leadership candidate David Cunliffe spoke of his desire to re-open the Napier to Gisborne railway to a crowd at Pukemokimoki Marae last night, in the hope of gathering support towards the party leadership election on September 15.

Candidates Grant Robertson, David Cunliffe and Shane Jones all spoke at the gathering held at the marae.

David Cunliffe similarly spoke of the need to have more Kiwi's in full time work opportunities.

"There is a widening gap between rich and poor, a quarter of a million New Zealand kids are living in poverty, with many of them in places like Hawke's Bay," he said. "Hardworking New Zealanders are struggling right now."


He promised if elected leader of the Labour Party to "help those most vulnerable in the workplace" and "repair the Employment Relations Bill in the first 100 days", if a Labour led government was elected in next year's general elections.

Mr Cunliffe also spoke of the desire to re-open the Napier to Gisborne railway and the challenge to create an efficient water storage scheme to benefit the horticulture, agriculture and viticulture industries in Hawke's Bay.

Mr Robertson, promised, if elected, to provide more jobs, homes and better family futures.

The deputy leader in David Shearer's opposition said a Labour led government would bring jobs back to regions such as Hawke's Bay.

"I want to be bold and courageous, full employment is our goal. Every New Zealander should have the dignity of full time work."

He said the recipe for a successful national economy would be to invest in people and communities in regional New Zealand. He also promised the reintroduction of the rail line between Napier and Gisborne and maximise efforts to keep young, educated people from going overseas.

Shane Jones said he wanted to bring back strength, hope and economic freedom to New Zealanders.

Mr Jones boldly said he was the man to "take on the $50 million gorilla" he described as John Key.

"The National Government does not have the hearts and minds of the Hawke's Bay community in their thoughts - send him [Key] back to Wall St or Sesame St with the cookie monster."