5 Jul 2014

Labour keeps part of Budget for partners

10:51 pm on 5 July 2014

Labour says the party is keeping some money aside in its alternative Budget for its potential coalition partners.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said those partners are likely to be the Greens and NZ First.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe. Photo: RNZ

In his speech to the congress on Saturday, Labour's finance spokesperson David Parker criticised National's economic programme and said Labour would run surpluses every year unless there was another significant international downturn or natural disaster.

He says there is $500 million in total set aside for the cost of policies yet to be announced.

"There's still quite a buffer there - some of it is committed to educational improvements this weekend. We've committed to live within that budget - indeed you'll find that we don't spend all of it because we're leaving some of it for our potential coalition partners."

Greens, NZ First likely partners

Mr Cunliffe says he would be happy to have Green Party and New Zealand First MPs in his Cabinet should he form the next government. But he says he is less likely to include the leaders of the Internet and Mana parties.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he would be happy to have Green Party and New Zealand First MPs in his Cabinet should he form the next government.But Mr Cunliffe says it is unlikely that Hone Harawira and Laila Harre, the leaders of the Mana and Internet parties, would get Cabinet posts under a government he leads.

"I don't think they'd be particularly surprised - I'm making very clear that I see the Green Party and New Zealand first as the foundations of an incoming government, but we're not doing pre-election deals with any party."

But he says though it's extremely unlikely that Internet - Mana would be Cabinet ministers, he's not ruling out having post-election understandings with other parties that want to change the Government.

Last weekend the National Party released its social media strategy, which centres around its leader, John Key and the Team Key campaign.

The campaign manager, David Talbot, says Labour will combat that by putting up a massive people-powered campaign.

Speaking at Labour's election-year congress in Wellington, Mr Cunliffe said the congress would work on honing the party's campaigning machinery, and training candidates and campaign teams to go out and do battle.