Prime Minister Bill English came face-to-face with one of his neighbours at Reporoa Primary School this morning, a weta from Karori.

He was presented with the creepy crawly by the bug man, Ruud Kleinpaste, who has been helping the school build an outdoor classroom.

Bill English holds a weta in Rotorua. Photo / Audrey Young
Bill English holds a weta in Rotorua. Photo / Audrey Young

Once the weta started getting its feelers into English, he handed it over to the group of kids showing him around.

Kleinpaste reminded English that they had worked together before on a makeover - at the Lawrence hospital in Southland, when English was the local MP and Kleinpaste had been part of Maggie's Garden Show.

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The school won a $10,000 grant from Rotorua Mazda to turn what was the school's old horse paddock into a wetland and native garden, albeit a very muddy one at present.

The wider school community turned out to take part in the working bee, followed by a morning tea and a barbecue.

The next stop on English's campaign stop in Rotorua involved Maggie herself, being Maggie Barry, the Minister for Senior Citizens, where they both addressed residents of Cantabria retirement village and hospital.

English paid tribute to Reporoa and said it reminded him of Dipton where he came from.
He thanked the kids that had shown him the new outdoor classroom: Simone, Sela, Debonny, Lovely and Memphis.

"This is just fantastic to see in action," he said. "A community with a core of people who have done a lot of hard work around assembling this opportunity for our kids.

"It is interesting that you can live in the country and not really understand how things work because kids might not spend time in the bush or wetlands or picking up the expertise in insects that Ruud has."

At the retirement village, English reminded residents that 750,000 superannuitants would receive an extra increase from April 1 on top of their normal annual increase. For couples that would be an extra $680 a year.

New Zealand super had increased by more than $7000 a year under National - from $24,062 in 2008 for a couple to $31,216 in 2017.

That was an increase of 29.7 per cent.

English also made a local riding announcement - promising that if re-elected, National would turn Te Ngai Rd from Rotorua City to Rotorua Airport into a four-lane road.

Rotorua had experienced above average growth, 3.9 per cent in 2016.

Te Ngae Rd supported a growing number of tourists to Rotorua and growth in the region's primary industries.

It also connected Rotorua to Western Bay of Plenty including the Port of Tauranga and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Government had to do its side alongside the businesses in Rotorua, English said.

The four-lane road project would cost $75 million to $100 million.