Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's education and lifestyle reporter.

Andrew Little in Rotorua (+video)

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New Zealand's Prime Minister was not the only party leader touring Rotorua yesterday.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little visited the city with Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford promoting the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill and Labour's tertiary education policy which could see the Government provide three years of free post-school education.

The pair spent time at Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Red Stag, Trenz and Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar.

During their tour of Waiariki's Mokoia Campus, Mr Little and Mr Twyford were shown around the institution's newly opened $10.2 million health and science centre and the site of the student-built 2016 Charity House.

When asked by the Rotorua Daily Post how Labour's tertiary education policy would help local students, Mr Little said the benefits of the policy spanned all types of students.

"There is huge benefits of this policy for school leavers who are hesitant to continue their study and find themselves in debt but also people in the middle of their working life whose job scope has changed and need the opportunity to learn and retrain."

Mr Little also spoke about his thoughts on the Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic merger and the proposed new name, Toi Ohomai.

"Labour did have its doubts about the merger of these two institutes but the decision has been made so it is important moving forward to have the campuses in both cities responsive to their students' needs.

"A city of Rotorua's size has got to have an institution that is responsive to the local region and as a place for not only local students to come to but students from outside the region as well. They are now amalgamated so let's make sure we've got two very strong campuses that each community is in support of.

"The name has been controversial so it is going to be up to the two communities to find something that reflects their students and find a name everyone agrees with and is comfortable with."

Mr Little also commented on how impressed he was with the Charity House being built by Waiariki students.

"I'm really impressed about the approach that has been taken with this project.

Developing new ways to build a house and make it healthy. It's not just how to build a house you're teaching here, but the science of it as well.

"New materials, techniques and technologies that can be used to teach Kiwis how to make not only affordable homes, but healthy homes as well."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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