National Party leader Christopher Luxon and deputy leader Nicola Willis were given a tour through a state-of-the-art guide dog training facility this week.
Blind Low Vision NZ chief executive John Mulka walked them through the facility which makes use of real-life scenarios to train the dogs, such as mock escalators, buses and trains and aeroplanes.
The complex is one of only two in the world to offer specialised training for guide dogs and their handlers in one place, with real world training examples.
Mulka said this helped to prepare the dogs for the distractions they will experience in the real world.
"When you have a guide dog, or you're a white cane user, there's not a clear path, there's always obstructions, there's always things happening."
Each room also had a speaker ready to play background noise to simulate the real thing.
One guide dog trainer said the environment helped the dogs recognise important cues, such as the sound of a walk light.
"It's fantastic we have this environment for them to actually practice that, without public interference, so it's really helpful."
Luxon was impressed by what he saw.
"They've built a fantastic simulation exercise facility here, so we've seen dogs go up and down escalators, we've seen them get on board aeroplanes... it's fantastic, it's been a real privilege to be here."
"It's amazing when you see New Zealanders like this... incredible Kiwis doing amazing things, dedicated to the task of actually training guide dogs to help their fellow kiwis."
Each year, Blind Low Vision NZ breed around 100 guide dogs, of which only around 40 will make the cut.
There are currently 180,000 New Zealanders who are blind, deaf-blind or have low vision.
It is expected that due to the ageing population this number will increase to 225,000 by 2028.