Labour leader Andrew Little has told a packed Rotorua pub he wants to rebuild the Kiwi dream and "build more bloody houses".

Mr Little and deputy leader Jacinda Ardern gave a talk at Hennessy's on Thursday night event, joined by the party's candidate for Rotorua Ben Sandford and Waiariki candidate Tamati Coffey.

Opening the speeches Ms Ardern spoke about her time living in Murupara as a child.

"Rotorua will always be the big city to me," she said.


"I started my school in Murupara and it felt very far away, a long winding trip and I was little so it seemed so big.

"We would come to Rotorua once a week to get groceries and it was the highlight of my week."

Although Ms Ardern said she didn't know anything about economics as a little girl, she could see the change taking place in Murupara.

"We came into town at a time when people were losing their jobs, it was a period of rapid change," she said.

"It made me realise the great duty that Government had to community, that enormous job loss had a ripple that lasted decades.

"Having a job is how people get their dignity, their sense of self, the ability to support their families."

Related articles:

26 Apr, 2017 3:40pm
4 minutes to read

Ms Ardern said she had seen the resilience of small communities.

"I feel so strongly about what Andrew has proposed for the regions," she said.

"Rotorua was a real light for me as a little person and it's great to be back here."

Mr Little's speech focused on the state of Rotorua, his motivation and his vision for how the party plans to "rebuild the Kiwi dream" if successful in this year's general election.

Last time Mr Little visited Rotorua was on his way to Edgecumbe.

"What was really amazing, is just seeing how quickly communities turned it on in terms of support. It was amazing to see that community spirit," he said.

Mr Little spoke about his 15-year-old son, and the drive that has given him to create a better future for the next generation.

"I look at my son and if I'm honest I have to say, we all have to say, to that generation 'there are parts of the Kiwi dream we cannot guarantee you any longer'," he said.

"I'm not prepared to give up on my son's dream and the expectations he ought to have.

"That he can get a good education, that if he works hard he can get a good job, that he can be paid fairly, that he can purchase his own home."

Speaking on the key issue of housing, Mr Little said "like a lot of places, a lot of families in Rotorua are feeling the squeeze".

"Housing is not an Auckland issue, it's an everywhere issue," he said.

"We're just not building enough houses."

Mr Little announced Labour's plan to build 100,000 new houses in the next 10 years.

"When you've got a problem, you fix the problem. When you've got a housing shortage, you build the bloody houses. You don't make excuses, you don't go finding problems. You get on and you fix it," Mr Little said.

"Housing, health, education. You get those things right and the world's your oyster."

Mr Little finished his speech by declaring every promise he had made could happen within New Zealand's current tax revenue.

After a question and answer session Ms Ardern and Mr Little stayed to answer questions one-on-one.