The day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited this week, Rotorua MP Todd McClay (National) was on the front page of the Rotorua Daily Post, holding a petition of 1000 signatures, urging the NZ Transport Agency to start four-laning Te Ngae Rd, and to build a safer Ngongotahā roundabout.
This local issue was one of three the Prime Minister discussed with the Rotorua Daily Post after announcing $20m in funding for the Rotorua Museum rebuild.
McClay had said National committed to upgrading Te Ngae Rd with four lanes up to the airport to help ease congestion, better connect homes and businesses and improve the safety along the State Highway before the 2017 election.
"Rotorua is growing and we deserve good infrastructure. Local motorists are paying their fair share of tax but we are just not seeing the investment in our roads."
When asked by the Rotorua Daily Post if she thought the petition's calls should be put up the priority list, Ardern said the Government prioritised "neglect around regional roading" when it first came into power, and it had invested $17 billion on transport infrastructure overall.
She was unable to comment on the specifics of the petition's requests but said her Government had been focusing on roads "frequented by local people and where we know there are safety concerns" to determine the "pecking order" of projects.
Ardern was also asked what the Government was doing to reduce the pressure on Rotorua's homeless shelters set up under the Visions of a Helping Hand Trust last year.
She said she was familiar with the trust's work and said she did not want there to be a need for such shelters across the country.
Ardern said "Rotorua had long been identified, before we came into Government, as an area that was experiencing chronic homelessness".
She said expanding the Housing First programme from Auckland to regional centres such as Rotorua was one way central Government was responding, "to support the work that has already been under way, led by the local community".
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"In the last Budget, we put the single biggest investment into chronic homelessness ever, and that was to help us roll out [Housing First] into the regions."
When asked if she would like to see Housing First grow large enough to remove the need for shelters in Rotorua, she said "yes, absolutely".
"We know the long-term solution to chronic homelessness is to house [people] first, but make sure that's a long-term stable house rather than transitional housing or shelters, and then wrap-around support, whether it's drug and alcohol addiction support or financial advice, mental health, and that's what ensures people stay in their homes."
When the night shelter opened in Rotorua last year, McClay said it was "very important" and good to see someone in the community had stepped up.
"The Government still has a big role to play also, we can't leave it to the community.
"There needs to be a focus on transitioning people into the help of government agencies and making sure their-long term issues are worked through," he said.
The Rotorua Daily Post also asked the Prime Minister what she was doing to reduce the pressure on schools and charities such as KidsCan, trying to clothe, feed and support deprived children's wider health needs.
She said the Government was focused on giving low-income families support "directly".
"So we know of course that if children are living in poverty, obviously they are living in families that have an inadequate income. In our first 100 days, we prioritised those families, cancelled the tax cuts, and created the Families Package ... On average, they will see their wages go up about $75 a week as a result, and that just makes everything a bit easier.
"We have extended the age bracket for those who access free doctors visits for children, we've got rid of school fees for Decile 7 and under, we've got rid of NCEA fees, so we're just trying to ease the cost of living pressures".
Of these political moves, one of the most criticised by National after this year's Budget was the removal of some school fees.
"The reality is there are many disadvantaged families in schools in decile 8, 9 and 10," National's Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said at the time.
The Rotorua Daily Post sought clarification the Government would do more in next year's Budget to reduce the pressure on Rotorua schools and charities trying to support deprived children.
She said: "Well we've already, in the last Budget for instance, indexed, main benefit rates to wages so that we stop seeing, what's happened since the 1990s - that huge divide - so people who are relying for a time on Government benefits, falling further and further behind and then as you say, we then see charitable organisations picking up the pieces.
"So overall, more than well over $5.5b has gone into lifting up those families. We know there's more work to do, that there's need in the meantime that is being picked up through other agencies, over time though, we want them to have the dignity of decent incomes."