A passionate public meeting was held in Rotorua with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today as he touched on many topics, including 1080.
Rotorua-based New Zealand First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau hosted Peters for a public meeting at the Copthorne Hotel.
In his address, Peters talked about people's concerns around 1080, with a large number of 1080 protesters holding signs by the road outside the venue before attending the meeting.
Peters said New Zealand First had been questioning the use of 1080 for a long time.
He said his party, along with Labour, was making a commitment to fund more research and to pilot trials for alternatives to 1080.
Peters said they would have to find an 1080 alternative through trials and scientific tests that was affordable on a large scale, able to be acquired in remote areas, had to be safe and effective to use, and had social and cultural acceptance.
He said there was some serious work going on with all those objectives and they had already started the areas where 1080 would no longer used.
However, they were not moving at nearly the speed they would like, he said.
"We think that there has to be a safer, far more safe, alternative to 1080 and we intend to put the money into finding one."
Peters also said they believed in rail and so people would see in the Budget 2019 some serious injection into railways.
"We need railways back ... We are going to make railway fashionable again we are going to modernise it."
He said next month, because of the Provincial Growth Fund and their interest towards rail, the Wairoa to Napier line would be reopened.
Peters also touched on how farmers were not happy with the Climate Change Legislation announcement this week.
The Government is taking action on the long-term challenges of climate change with the introduction of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill to Parliament, he said.
It commits to what is called a "split target" – aiming to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions, aside from biogenic methane, to net zero by 2050.
Biogenic methane – the emissions created from livestock such as sheep and cattle – is not completely exempt as the bill commits to reducing it to 10 per cent below the 2017 levels by 2030.
Peters said they had come up with a sound policy.
Other areas he talked about included the recent end to unnecessary secondary tax, the cannabis referendum, the funding boost to address the teacher shortage and unemployment being the lowest it had ever been in decades.
He said exports were at an all-time high and the national debt the government was carrying was also coming down.
"As a party we're doing better than we've done in a long time."
After the address, when asked if the Government was considering funding any more roading improvements for Rotorua, Peters said, "Where road safety issues pertain to Rotorua, the answer is yes".
When asked what work the government had been doing with Lakes DHB to stop junior doctors and anaesthetist technicians from taking more strike action, Peters said they had given the health services far greater funding than they had ever had.
"We said at the time that this is a first-time offer this year and we can't afford it again at this point in time. We ask them to understand."