The curious combination of the environment and the popular British TV quiz show The Chase headlined an election meeting in Tauranga.

Buddy Mikaere who is standing for The Opportunities Party's list had been watching The Chase before leaving home for the meeting on Tuesday night hosted by Envirohub, Forest & Bird and the Carbon Reduction Group.

One of The Chase contestants was asked what she would do with the money if she and her teammates won. She said she would take her husband to New Zealand where they had the most amazing forests, and take photos all day.

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"That is how we are perceived," Mr Mikaere said.

He then highlighted the Rena disaster.

"It showed up the weaknesses in how we protect the environment."

Mr Mikaere said the grounding had been a salutary lesson in how international maritime laws had turned out to be meaningless when it came to the crunch. He said they were still in the Environment Court arguing about the conditions.

"The battle does not stop, it goes on and on."

Nearly 90 people attended the meeting in the Wesley Church Centre. Apologies were received from National Party candidates for Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty, Simon Bridges and Todd Muller.

Act candidate for Tauranga Stuart Pedersen said if the economy grew then funding for the environment should grow, with the money going to Department of Conservation frontline staff and not bureaucrats in Wellington.

He said it was rich countries that could afford to protect the environment and polluters should pay. He advocated the Australian system of transferable tradeable water rights where the price was set by the market, and pure aquifer water traded at a much higher price than river water.

Labour's Tauranga candidate Jan Tinetti wanted 40 per cent of a $25 tourist conservation infrastructure levy put into protecting biodiversity. There were concerns that although DoC was coping with tourism, it was not doing enough about conservation and biodiversity. Some of the money would also come back to councils with high tourist numbers.

Labour's Bay of Plenty candidate Angie Warren-Clark, who declared herself a "card carrying greenie", said she wanted future generations to have the same opportunities she did growing up to swim in clean rivers.

"We are committed to cleaning our rivers to a swimmable standard."

She said the standard of faecal matter in water set by the National Government was not good enough.

Tauranga Green Party candidate Emma-Leigh Hodge said the state of the environment in New Zealand had reached a crucial point.

The Greens' $20 tourism levy would put $77 million extra into DoC. It would double on-the-ground staff to protect the environment and combat predators. A nitrate levy would provide an incentive for farmers to shift away from polluting waterways.

New Zealand First's Bay of Plenty candidate Lester Gray said every aspect of New Zealand relied on the environment.

"What is good for New Zealand is good for the environment and vice versa."

He said DoC had been grossly underfunded by National in recent times and it needed more ability to control the environment. GST would be returned to the regions from where it came, and help fund things like tourism infrastructure.

Mr Gray said only 20 per cent of products entering New Zealand were biosecurity checked.

Independent candidate for Tauranga Rusty Kane said New Zealand needed legislative referendums so that the people decided what happened to their country, like freshwater.

Jason Jobsis (Democrats for Social Credit) said Social Credit was the first party to have conservation policies back in 1954.