After more than a year of waiting, Whareroa Marae has finally got a response from government ministers following repeated letters calling for heavy industry to move out of Mount Maunganui.
Albeit, a brief one.
The Labour Māori caucus, made up of Kelvin Davis, Nanaia Mahuta, Willie Jackson, Adrian Rurawhe and Meka Whaitiri and incumbent Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey, descended on Whareroa on Tuesday during the campaign trail.
Although the meeting was not dedicated solely to discussing the pollution problem, when the opportunity to ask questions arose, marae environment spokesman Joel Ngātuere was the first to speak, standing close to a print depicting the chemicals ejected into the air from his heavy industry neighbours.
"I would really like to know what the vision of our Māori caucus is to keep our whānau safe?
"We have about 120 people of our whānau here, 80 per cent of them are kaumatua or tamariki who are most at risk of air pollution."
In July, the marae gave the Government a 10-year deadline to get its neighbours out of Mount Maunganui. The demand was made to Ministry of Environment officials during a visit to the marae.
As a result, Bay of Plenty Regional Council committed to investigating and addressing health concerns raised by the marae community.
Ngātuere told the caucus the problem was real and exhibited by "our babies curling over and spewing up and burying our kaumatua before their time".
"It is time for change so that we can work with these industries to come up with a fit for purpose place where they can carry on servicing the port and they can carry on pumping up the economy and shareholders and where our whānau can finally be in peace and our kaumatua can come home to retire."
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta was scheduled to attend the meeting in July however, a three waters announcement took precedence.
On Tuesday she responded to Ngātuere, acknowledging the community's frustration.
"I can't give you a commitment as government that it would be easy for government to push a button and then all of a sudden industry would be gone but what I can give a commitment to is that we will sit down with you, with council, and with the industry to basically work a way forward. It's a plan," Mahuta said.
"What I hear from you is I'm sick of people saying things and nobody doing anything ... and I hear it loud and clear."
Mahuta, also the local government minister, said there was a conversation scheduled for Friday where they could talk it through better.
"What I would like to be in the position to do after Friday, is actually start committing to something the community has confidence in."
Western Bay of Plenty District mayor Garry Webber also attended.
He, alongside Irene Walker, asked if the government was open to amending the Local Government Act to enable a "clear and "fair process" to establish Māori wards.
"It is just ludicrous in 2020 that we're still operating in some strange old rules."
Mahuta admitted the stumbling block was around legislation.
"I'm hopeful that we will be in a different position as we form the next government. And if not, my fallback mechanism will be to find a way to through local government commission to depoliticise it."
The nature of the coalition arrangement had been a barrier for Mahuta to address the issue, she said.
The caucus then made its way to Rotorua on Tuesday evening for a similar meeting.