Climate change front of mind as Chris Hipkins visits house destroyed by landslide, Christopher Luxon meets with students

Chris Hipkins and Chris Luxon were in Tauranga on Thursday, with the Prime Minister meeting the family who survived a landslide that destroyed their house.

Meanwhile, the National leader heard what first-time voters at Otumoetai College care about: climate change, housing affordability and free tertiary fees. But one student had some rather more blunt feedback for Luxon.

During his trip to Tauranga, Hipkins surveyed the crumpled wreck that remains of Luke Hanan's home. Hanan's family miraculously escaped unscathed after a landslide ploughed into their house.

Just two weeks after the torrential rain and floods, the Prime Minister was doubling up on warnings there could be more to come.

"So have you got your emergency supplies ready? What's your plan in the event there's flooding in your neighbourhood? What's your plan in the event there are other extreme weather events that affect your neighbourhood?"

Hipkins said extreme weather events like the one that caused this house to be destroyed will continue and we must be prepared. 

But when it comes to actually fighting climate change, he's just chopped a big hole in New Zealand's carbon budget - and can't say yet where emissions cuts will be made to plug that hole.

Plans to require fuel made from food or timber waste to be added to petrol were scrapped in Hipkins' policy cull on Wednesday. That means we need to find another way to cut millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

"So government has other options to make sure we're fulfilling those budgets, so we'll now go back to the drawing board and talk with, or relevant ministers will go back to the drawing board, and identify how we fill that gap."

Luxon was across town courting potential young voters - and there was a common thread in what they care about.

"I think the climate," said one.

"Climate change is pretty up there," said another. 

"I was interested to see National doesn't have any climate change or environment policies yet, so I would like to talk to Christopher Luxon about that today," added a third. 

Luxon said he is "rock solid on the ends". 

"But the means by which you deliver those ends, which is climate change policy, there are some things that will be similar to the Government but some things that will be different."

Luxon also received some less constructive criticism from one student.

After thanking the students, one yelled: "You're a dickhead". Luxon responded, "sorry?". The student repeated his message. 

"Thank you mate, very kind of you," Luxon said. 

The heckler was quietly escorted out.

For Chris Luxon, it could be a taste of what might be to come on the campaign trail. And for both Chrises, their trips to Tauranga should be reminders that scenes like those found there are putting climate change at the top of the election agenda.