Independent candidate for Tauranga Hugh Robb says the city's voters need an alternative.

"I've seen us give our loyalty to the National Party," the 53-year-old said.

"We're a safe National seat and I think we've been taken for granted."

Mr Robb, who lived in Merivale, said tolling roads to the Port of Tauranga was a classic example of that.


"These roads contribute hundreds of billions to the national economy and yet local residents have to pay. The Waterview Tunnel [in Auckland] isn't tolled, so why us?"

He said he liked some of what National was doing, "but I think we've got to call people out on their mistakes and spin".

Mr Robb has been campaigning on the ground leading up to this month's General Election.

"Basically I'm riding around on my bike with a 'Vote Hugh Robb' T-shirt on. I'm more than happy to answer questions."

He said when he got a chance to explain himself to people in person, "they're quite open, understanding and accepting".

"A lot of people I've spoken to in Tauranga are sick of politicians squabbling."

As an independent candidate, he could be more objective about things, he said.

"There's no good aligning yourself with an ideology if there are parts of it that are wrong, that are damaging."

Mr Robb has worked in media, both in front of the camera and behind it, and has performed as a stand-up comedian in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

He said he worked for the Inland Revenue Department "during New Zealand's biggest tax reform when GST was introduced".

He has seen New Zealand's tax system from the inside, he said, and supports tax relief for middle class workers.

"They do all the work, they pay all the taxes."

New Zealand needs to increase GST, Mr Robb said, and it should get rid of income tax up to the median wage.

This would increase spending power without applying pressure on employers to increase wages, he said.

Mr Robb, who was born in Tauranga and had lived in the city most of his life, said there should also be an overhaul of the country's welfare system, which he had personal experience with.

"All the payments can be made through the tax department; we don't need Work and Income New Zealand - it's a multi-billion dollar irrelevance."

He said there should be a universal basic income for everyone instead of benefits.

Mr Robb also has his eye on immigration - his parents are immigrants and he is a first generation New Zealander.

"So I've got some empathy with immigrant workers, and we clearly need better infrastructure and immigration reform."

He was calling for more referendums, which he said should be held on Election Day - starting with one asking if New Zealand should increase its electoral term to four years.