Low turnout could not dent the enthusiasm of Labour’s youngest candidate for his role at a meeting in Cromwell on Saturday.
Both the people who attended were keen to hear Ethan Reille’s views on health and housing particularly.
A secondary-level hospital in Cromwell was something he had heard a lot about from Wanaka constituents, Mr Reille said.
One of the attendees said rural nurses were not being paid the same as their city counterparts and it was making it difficult to retain them.
Housing shortages could be helped by ‘‘rewarding good behaviour’’ of holidayhomeowners who let out their properties, but there had to be a focus on public housing.
In the past five and a-half years Labour had gained 12,500 public houses, he said.
He did not know if any of those were in Central Otago.
Upcoming changes to the Resource Management Act would also help create more property development by opening up farmland for housing.
There had to be a balance between having sufficient productive farmland and housing spaces, he said.
Regarding health concerns, Mr Reille said the Waitaki electorate should not be so heavily reliant on a hospital like Dunedin’s.
There were a lot of excellent local medical providers moving to the city for higher pay so the focus needed to be on keeping those people local.
Then the focus needed to go on to looking at the existing infrastructure like Dunstan Hospital, but a lot of people were asking if there was a possibility of building or moving the hospital to the Cromwell town centre.
With regard to the new Dunedin hospital, it was important not to look at what was being lost by the cuts to plans but what was being gained from the new build.
Waitaki is one of the largest electorates in the country.
It was possible to cover it all if you worked strategically, Mr Reille said.
‘‘One of the promises I am making if elected is we will have an office in Wanaka, if Parliamentary Services allows that.
‘‘But further to that we do have the resources to have those popup community clinics, so what I’d look at is there would be a rotation each week so you’d have one in Cromwell and the following week one in Geraldine and then Hawea making sure you get around as much as possible.’’