Tukituki candidates for the general election gathered for the first time in the lead-up to the September 20 poll to speak on social issues raised by the Salvation Army.
Four of the electorate's five candidates spoke at The Election Series 2014, held at the Salvation Army's Flaxmere Corps, Flaxmere, last night.
Salvation Army social policy analyst Alan Johnson said the series, which would be held at venues across the country, aimed to raise election issues and introduce residents to their local candidates.
A video produced by the Salvation Army was screened to the candidates and audience, highlighting social issues most prevalent in poor communities.
The video advocated policy changes such as restricting alcohol and gambling availability, and a maximum interest rate to discourage loan sharks.
The candidates were each given five minutes to talk on the issues raised in the video.
National Tukituki MP Craig Foss said the Government had allowed local councils to set particular alcohol purchasing laws, empowering communities to take control of the issue.
He said he had passed a bill in Parliament this year, the Credit Contracts and Financial Services Law Reform Bill, which would make aggressive loan shark tactics illegal.
Labour Tukituki candidate Anna Lorck said she commended Mr Foss for the bill, "but I don't know why you haven't capped interest rates," which she said Labour would.
She with the Salvation Army's proposal for greater restrictions on gambling and alcohol purchasing.
"It is not okay that you can buy a Lotto ticket with your Weet-Bix [at the supermarket]."
Conservative Party Tukituki candidate Stephen Jenkinson said the number of outlets selling alcohol should be reduced and the legal drinking age should be raised to 20.
He also called for the price of alcohol to be increased by way of an excise tax, and for limits to be placed on alcohol advertising.
Meanwhile, Democrats for Social Credit Tukituki candidate Dick Ryan said fundamental changes should be made to the monetary system, which caused increasing inequality.
"We have engineered a society where stress drives people to drink and buy Lotto tickets."
Green Party candidate Chris Perley was absent.