12 Oct 2008

Four parties launch election campaigns

5:12 pm on 12 October 2008

The Labour, National, United Future and ACT parties all kicked off their official election campaigns in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

Labour leader Helen Clark made economic management the campaign's centrepiece when she officially launched her party's bid for a fourth term in power.

Miss Clark unveiled plans for the Government to guarantee bank deposits in front of a crowd of around 1,000 at Auckland's Town Hall.

She says Labour is developing an economic stimulus package, in case conditions don't improve.

It would bring forward planned infrastructure spending and fund new building and construction projects.

The National Party also launched its election campaign in Auckland with leader John Key giving a personal guarantee to deliver on 11 key policies.

Mr Key addressed more than 1,000 party faithful at the Sky City Convention Centre.

He says National will deliver a card to every household in New Zealand over the next 10 days.

It'll outline already released policies including further tax cuts, increasing investment in infrastructure and capping the core public service.

Mr Key admits the card is similar to the Labour Party's pledge card but says it's been funded by National Party supporters, not the taxpayer.

The ACT party launched its campaign with leader Rodney Hide telling the faithful that his party's economic policies are the only way to help the country grow out of the current global turmoil.

Mr Hide told 400 supporters that households will feel the impact of a falling New Zealand dollar, and a difficult climate for banks to renew funding.

He says ACT's 20 point economic plan including cutting taxes and government spending is the recovery package that will see the country overtake its nearest neighbour.

The United Future Party launched its campaign with a policy to abolish all tertiary education fees.

Leader Peter Dunne says the party's campaign will focus on New Zealand families and maintaining their standard of living.

Its other main policy plank is voluntary income splitting for families with dependent children, for taxation purposes.