Allegations of dirty politics and smear campaigns have seeped into the Taieri electorate race.
Labour candidate Ingrid Leary claimed on social media yesterday she had become the target of dirty politics from some fellow candidates, following questions this week around whether Leary was planning to stay in the electorate were she to lose in October.
Questions were also raised when Leary confirmed she spent lockdown on Waiheke Island.
She said she lived in South Dunedin where she had a child at school, so "don't believe everything you read on social media".
Speaking before a meet-the-candidates event at the Musselburgh Baptist Church last night, she said she believed there was a smear campaign against her, but was encouraging Labour supporters to focus on the party's messages.
National Party candidate Liam Kernaghan, also speaking before the meeting, told the Otago Daily Times he had no control over what media published, or what Leary said.
No seat was a safe seat, and he was focusing on strong representation for the Taieri electorate, he said.
Six candidates for the electorate gathered at the church last night, where they made pitches to a crowd of about 50 people.
Unsurprisingly, the economy and Covid-19 recovery were top of everyone's minds on the day when New Zealand officially entered a recession.
New Zealand First candidate Mark Patterson said housing affordability was a big problem nationwide, and also in South Dunedin specifically.
He believed the electorate could benefit from being increasingly connected to Clutha, which was a "rural powerhouse".
Kernaghan said yesterday's news that New Zealand had officially entered a recession was a stark reminder of the impacts of Covid-19.
He highlighted the need to keep people in jobs, and also said if elected, he would prioritise the need for better drainage in South Dunedin.
"None of us can afford flooding in South Dunedin."
Green Party candidate Scott Willis focused on climate change, reducing poverty and "depoliticising'' the response to the pandemic.
The economy needed to be carbon-proofed "to ensure we have an economy for the future", he said.
Act New Zealand candidate Robert Andrews said an increasing burden of regulation and red tape on businesses was a major issue in Dunedin.
One Party candidate Stan Smith also wanted more cutting of red tape.
"We need to cut red tape to lift incomes and living standards right across the country," he said.
He believed raising living standards was vital to improving the environment.
People living in poverty were not worried about their carbon footprint or whether the food they were eating was organic, he said.
For Leary, elder issues needed more of a spotlight.
In the Taieri electorate, one in four people were over 65, she said.
"Although our seniors are resilient, there are vulnerabilities around technology."
She also wanted to ensure people in South Dunedin had good access to facilities in the new Dunedin Hospital.
Freshwater regulations also came under fire for their impact on farmers.
Patterson said as a farmer himself, the regulations were challenging.
"But we absolutely have to do it — we need to tidy up our waterways."