From water royalties, reopening the Napier-Gisborne line, to revitalising Hawke's Bay economy - New Zealand First leader Winston Peters covered the big issues on a quick stop in Hawke's Bay yesterday.

Over 150 people gathered at Hastings Baptist Church to hear the Northland MP share his vision on the country's future, and poke jibes at the policies of his political opponents at a Hastings & Districts Grey Power Association meeting.

Roaring into town in his personalised tour bus, Mr Peters arrived at the church to thunderous applause from the Grey Power crowd, joined by his party's Tukituki candidate, Joe Kairau, and MP Clayton Mitchell.

Mr Peters, and his bus, had last been in Hawke's Bay as part of his tour around the country.


"We took that bus tour to remind the people of this country who live in the regions that whilst they may have a tin ear in Wellington and be deaf, one party hears you, and understands what is going on, or not going on, in the regions of this country."

This set the tone for the hour-long meeting, during which the MP spoke about how his party's policies would benefit those in the provinces - touching on everything from housing, immigration, to revitalising regional economies.

A major talking point was water: "I never thought we would be in an election campaign, say 10, 20 years ago, where water would be the No 1 issue for a lot of people, but it is" he said. "And its a pretty big issue down here in the Hawke's Bay."

He touched on the "pressing issues" for the region - the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme and the Water Conservation Order for two rivers.

Hawke's Bay voters needed to know how the two major parties were going to address water issues, he said, but criticised both their policies.

As well as floating ideas for balancing the environment with primary production, he urged the crowd to be "very concerned" about Labour's water tax which - although partly similar to the policy he touted during his bus tour seven weeks ago - would hurt Hawke's Bay's primary industries.

Both Labour and National's policies would "mean a stiff charge for everybody who needs water in this country now, unless that is stopped".

NZ First's "royalties for the regions" policy would see any royalties paid out of Hawke's Bay return here.

More could come Hawke's Bay's way with his proposal to return some money spent by tourists back to the region's where it was spent.

Only a small amount of time was devoted to the issues directly affecting the majority of his audience - although he did pledge three free doctors' visits, and one free eye test a year, and that the new super gold card would be out in the next fortnight.

Before leaving for the next stop on the campaign trail Mr Peters shook hands, and took selfies with attendees, such as 19-year-old Josh.

He and his mother, Jane, who did not want their last names used, said they liked Mr Peters as he addressed the issues rather than becoming involved in political games.

Barbara Tamati, a NZ first supporter for about three years, had come to listen to Mr Peters and support her son-in-law, Tukituki candidate Joe Kairau.

Before the meeting she said she hoped to hear from Mr Peters "that things are going to get better, that's the main thing".