Shearer takes time out for a beer in Levin
Labour Party leader David Shearer took time out for a beer at Levin's Cosmopolitan Club on Thursday evening.
Following scheduled visits in the afternoon and before he was due to attend a Levin Rotary Club dinner that night, Mr Shearer suggested to accompanying MP Annette King and several party supporters, ''let's go for a beer''.
''It's good to meet the movers and shakers who are around, but meeting everyday ordinary people and getting their take on things is very informative,'' he told the ifHorowhenua Mail.
''People can come up and bend my ear and I like hearing their views, advice and suggestions.''
Mr Shearer said issues raised most by people in Levin related to employment and economic development.
He said practical solutions were needed to upskill people to help them into jobs.
''We've got some really concrete ideas, including paying employers the equivalent of the dole if they take on an unemployed person as an apprentice.
"We're also promoting the idea of requiring companies which get significant Government contracts to hire an apprentice for every $1 million worth of investment.''
Mr Shearer said central government needed to get in behind local government to back community ideas and initiatives, because helping regions grow helped power the national economy.
''If they've got innovative ideas and schemes, we should support them. It's really about local and central government working together in a way that benefits our communities.''
Earlier in the day, Mr Shearer's first visit was to the recently opened $7 million Te Takere Horowhenua Culture and Community Centre.
''I'm really impressed. I'd heard about it, but until now hadn't realised how fantastic it is,'' he said.
''Conceptually it takes libraries to a completely new level to something much more than just a library.''
Mr Shearer said transforming an old supermarket building into a community centre with ''wow factor'' would also enhance the perception of Levin and become a magnet for people and business.
Following his visit to Te Takere, Mr Shearer made brief visits to Waiopehu College, Levin East School and HLC.
He returned to Te Takere to help Labour supporters collect signatures for the party's petition opposing state asset sales.
Mr Shearer said there was a definite shift in the mood about which party should lead the country.
He said the National party was trending down and Labour up, with 34 per cent preference in the polls currently.
''This is good progress only a year after the last election,'' he said.
''The shine has come off the current government, through a series of mis-steps and bad policies.
''Yes, we're there to hold the Government to account, but also to put our policies on the forefront.''
Mr Shearer said selecting a new Labour candidate for the Otaki electorate and to challenge incumbent MP Nathan Guy at the next election in 2014 would take place after the Census next March and once electorate boundaries were confirmed.