Higher police numbers, water bottling levies, and cleaner rivers were touted as part of Hawke's Bay's future under a Labour Government tonight.
Hordes of people crowded into Clive Hall tonight, to hear Labour party leader Andrew Little and his new deputy Jacinda Ardern explain their plans for the future of Hawke's Bay, and the country.
The party's Hawke's Bay candidates in the upcoming general election - incumbent Napier MP Stuart Nash, and Tukituki contender Anna Lorck - also spoke. Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri was unable to attend.
Benefits Hawke's Bay would receive with Labour in government were outlined - with the party promising to focus on, and invest in, the "bedrock" issues of housing, health, and education.
This would give people "a foundation to thrive and prosper in the future", Mr Little said.
Hawke's Bay would receive an as-yet unknown number of houses under their KiwiBuild programme, which promised 100,000 "high quality, affordable homes" built over 10 years.
Half would be in Auckland, Mr Little later said, with every region getting a share of the other 50,000, based on their assessed need, shortage of housing, and demand.
He also addressed how their party would deal with ramifications of the housing crisis - citing homelessness, overcrowding, and the effect on children.
Speaking of his own battle with prostate cancer, Mr Little discussed the need for more funding in the health sector "which has had so many services cut over the last few years".
One example was around mental health services - "which are stretched to breaking point".
Labour would address the pressure felt by schools - including some in Hawke's Bay - due to frozen school funding, he said.
Providing education to "all people" was a priority - including upskilling and training at work - however he stressed the importance of primary education, and "getting those basics right".
Cheers sounded in the hall as contentious Hawke's Bay-centric issues were touched on - including police numbers, water bottling, and water quality.
The party has promised to fund 1000 more police officers - Mr Little later said the spread of these across the country would also be about the need, and priority. He noted Labour wanted to return to the community policing model, with staffed community, and rural police stations.
The hot-button topic of water bottling received thundering applause, with Mr Little later saying "we think that in terms of managing future water supply and water quality there's got to be an appropriate levy put on it [water bottling] to benefit the community".
The Labour leader also spoke of his party's opposing take on policies suggested by the government - from swimmable river standards, changes to superannuation, and Resource Management Act reforms.
After the meeting, Ms Ardern said she hoped she and Mr Little had addressed residents' concerns.
"If people walked in here with things they were worried about, or thinking about, I hope that they heard us speaking to exactly those issues," she said. "What we know we need to do is focus on the things affecting people every day now and that they might be worrying about on behalf of kids and grandkids."
Speaking of his confidence in the Hawke's Bay candidates, Mr Little noted the party would be fighting hard for the Tukituki seat in the upcoming election.
To date, Ms Lorck will be contesting the seat against Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule for the National Party, Chris Perley for the Green Party, and Dick Ryan - Democrats for Social Credit.
Mr Nash will be seeking to retain the Napier seat against Green Party candidate Damon Rusden, Democrats for Social Credit candidate Barry Pulford, and as-yet unselected National Party candidate.
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox will be contesting the Ikaroa Rawhiti seat, currently held by Ms Whaitiri.