Where Bay of Plenty election candidates stand on the superannuation age, economic recovery and the upcoming referendums has been laid bare at one of Rotorua's first meet the candidate events of the election season.
Candidates from Rotorua, Waiariki and Tauranga attended two Grey Power events today where they were invited to give their thoughts on issues including superannuation, access to health services and disability access, establishing the office of a Commissioner for Seniors, and economic recovery.
Some also spoke about the End of Life and cannabis referendums which are being voted on in September. Not all candidates addressed all of the topics.
Rotorua candidates Alan Tane Solomon (New Conservative), Pete Kirkwood (Act), Kaya Sparke (Green), Claire Mahon (Labour) and incumbent Todd McClay (National) were there.
Tauranga candidate Andrew Caie spoke on behalf of The Opportunities Party while Hannah Tamaki of Vision NZ was the only Waiariki candidate to attend.
About 100 people attended the 2pm session while 30 attended the 7pm event.
The candidates were split on the superannuation eligibility age and whether it should remain at 65.
Sparke, Tamaki, Mahon and Caie all said their parties would keep the age where it was.
Kirkwood and McClay said their parties would increase it to 67 and Solomon said the New Conservative party would slowly increase the age to 70.
Sparke also said the Green Party would make superannuation more flexible to allow people to access the fund earlier.
Election 2020: Can Labour win back Rotorua?
Bryan Gould: No need to demonise one's political opponents
He threatened to feed Simon Bridges to pigs, now he's been sentenced
"We need to acknowledge that Aotearoa has an aging population."
Speaking on behalf of The Opportunities Party Caie said the party would increase superannuation by $800, funded through tax changes.
"We don't want Kiwis to be forced to work for a longer period of time than they have to."
Mahon said if elected Labour would put $9 billion into the superannuation fund to keep the eligibility age at 65.
Almost all of the candidates supported a Commission for Seniors or Aged Care.
Solomon said it "makes sense to give mature people a voice in government".
Mahon said a Commissioner for Seniors would be valuable in many areas including overseeing aged care facilities.
McClay said National supported a Commission for Seniors and would implement one if elected.
Sparke said a commission for aged care was something the Green Party had always supported while Caie said the party did not have a specific policy on the issue.
The candidates were also asked their views on economic recovery.
Solomon said New Conservative would support economic growth through a $10 billion tax cut and development of the primary industries.
"The Government must run a balanced diet, pay down debt and save for the future."
Sparke said the Government needed to invest in the right things "so we are not helping people now at the expense of people in the future".
Mahon said economic recovery was about wellbeing and people and Labour had a recovery plan which would focus on people, building jobs and strong economic management.
In relation to disability access law Solomon said New Conservative was "committed to educating and empowering New Zealanders to take personal responsibility for their physical health, emotional health and spiritual and mental health".
He said the party would incentivise doctors and nurses to work in hard to staff areas of the country.
Sparke said Green wanted to make changes to the building code so accessibility would be built into design.
"It's not an afterthought it's not something that needs to be added on later it's something that's there from the very beginning."
Caie said TOP had a plan to increase funding to community groups to address loneliness and mental health in the aging population.
"We'd also like to see a shift away from intensive end of life treatments and move it toward treatment and support that will actually improve outcomes for our people."
On access Mahon said while Labour had invested in that there was more to be done.
McClay said laws needed to be updated and upgraded so those with disabilities had access to buildings.
Kirkwood advocated for the Act Party vote.
"Party vote Act, and if I'm completely honest, do not vote for me ... Candidate vote whoever you think will do the best job of representing you locally."
Sparke is also running a party vote campaign.
"I don't want you to tick Kaya Sparke I want you to tick Green Party because that is the best way you can get candidates like me into government."
On the End of Life referendum
Solomon - "We oppose euthanasia in any form, we would ensure palliative in the highest quality."
Kirkwood - "It's about choice. Because if you are at the end of your life suffering a terminal illness, in pain every day, shouldn't you have the choice to say 'this needs to stop'?"
Tamaki - "I'm very pro-life. If people are loved and supported through their transition it's easier for them and it's easier for us."
On the cannabis referendum
Kirkwood - "As long as marijuana is criminalised people end up in a criminal element ... The pressure that comes in social situations is huge and drugs make it a lot worse."
Tamaki - "I'm against drugs because I see it's a stepping stone to another drug."