National makes a run for glory
Thousands of National Party faithful are expected to turn out today at the official campaign launch — an event the party will hope provide new momentum.
National released a new campaign ad over the weekend, showing its team of blue-clad runners striding past the opposition.
But many in National will be looking over their shoulders at Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who has shown no sign of slowing down since thousands of supporters packed the Auckland Town Hall last weekend at Labour’s campaign launch.
With only a week until election month, today’s campaign opening in West Auckland will give National the chance to launch policy and dominate the headlines — and the party will make sure supporters show up in numbers.
Leader Bill English will travel on the party’s campaign bus from central Auckland to Trusts Arena, and give his address in the afternoon.
Ardern will be in Christchurch for the day, where she will unveil Labour’s plan to accelerate the rebuild. Her appearance comes after National on Thursday pledged an extra $120 million to build a new stadium.
The Labour leader yesterday unveiled policy to slash the cost of GP visits — just five days after National announced it would extend $18 doctor visits to 600,000 more Kiwis.
Ardern said Labour would reduce the cost of those visits to $8, and also cut the cost of visiting doctors for New Zealanders not on low incomes by about $10, if their GP practice signs up.
She made the announcement at Labour’s Pacific campaign launch in Auckland, walking with a leather jacket-clad David Tua through crowds of supporters at Mangere town centre, as conch shells were blown and drums beaten.
A choir sang
and prayers were offered, before the pace changed with reggae classic
National Party campaign chair Steven Joyce criticised the GP policy as another “me too” policy that was essentially copied from National.
“They have literally copied National’s announcement from last week targeting low-income New Zealanders and tacked on a $10 universal subsidy over the top,” Joyce said.
English spent the day campaigning in the Queenstown area, including a walk-about at the Remarkables Park Town Centre, where he took a turn manning the checkout at the local New World.
At Lake Hayes Pavilion English announced National, if re-elected, will crack down on freedom camping, including by restricting overnight stays for tourists without selfcontained vehicles to within 200m of toilet blocks.
The changes would also allow councils and DoC staff to issue instant fines for people breaking the rules.
If the fine can’t be paid on the spot, it will be assigned to the vehicle owner or rental car company.
A still from National's new election video.