Teachers say Labour, National both need to work hard to earn voters' trust

Chris Hipkins got a warm welcome at his first Big Gay Out as Prime Minister.

But he will have to do a lot more to convince a couple of the other attendees to give him their votes.

Two teachers told Newshub both Labour and National are "very vanilla" and will have to work hard to earn voters' trust.

Hipkins met a wide variety of people during Sunday's Big Gay Out, ranging from the obligatory small talk to situations obviously closer to his comfort zone.

But while the reception was friendly, there were plenty of people there who are still waiting for a reason why they should vote for him, like teachers Cassey Prentice and Candice Etzine.

"It's not just about money, just mentally and stuff we're exhausted. It's the middle of term one."

"We're losing so many high-quality teachers who just can't afford to be a teacher."

They said Hipkins, who is the former Education Minister, knows the sector needs help.

"Recognise what's genuinely happening in classrooms around New Zealand at the moment and actually sit down and have a chat with someone who actually works in the sector."

Hipkins has also faced criticism for extending fuel tax cuts, which would continue to increase greenhouse gas emissions amid the recovery from a cyclone that experts said was intensified by climate change.

"Ultimately, taxing higher some of our lowest-income New Zealanders so that they can't drive isn't the way to tackle our emissions profile," he said.

So what's more important for Big Gay Out attendees, the cost of living crisis or the climate crisis?

"I work with a lot of people and literally they are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. Even when they come in with their paycheck for lunch, it's getting smaller and smaller," one person said.

"It's very hard, they've got to look at what's the short-term help to people, which obviously keeping the fuel tax in place is," another said.

Hipkins is winning support with a smile and popular policy and leaving climate goals and the teacher shortage for another day.