SEC­OND SPRIN­KLE

Otago Daily Times - - Front Page -

DUNEDIN had its own sprin­kling of star­dust yes­ter­day, with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern vis­it­ing the city on a sunny spring day.

Ms Ardern re­turned to the city on what is her fi­nal visit be­fore the elec­tion to at­tend the Polyfest, visit a St Kilda fam­ily af­fected by flood­ing, visit the Univer­sity of Otago and at­tend a spe­cial assem­bly at Taieri Col­lege.

Ziggy Star­dust was made fa­mous by the late David Bowie

who re­leased The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Star­dust and the Spi­ders of

Mars in 1972.

Fans of Ms Ardern were quick to post pho­tos of her on

Face­book wear­ing the now­fa­mous head shot of Bowie with the light­ning stripes on her face, con­fus­ing Aladdin Sane with Ziggy. Aladdin Sane was re­leased in 1973. Mere de­tails.

Ms Ardern was not the only leader in town this week.

Green Party leader James Shaw was in the city des­per­ately hoover­ing up as many party votes as he could as the Greens teeter dan­ger­ously on the brink of not re­turn­ing to Par­lia­ment.

New Zealand First leader Win­ston Peters at­tracted a mixed, but mainly older, crowd in Dunedin on Thurs­day. He gave no clues as to who he might be in coali­tion with af­ter next Satur­day’s elec­tion, prob­a­bly be­cause, like the Greens, NZ First is dan­ger­ously close to not re­turn­ing to Par­lia­ment if Mr Peters fails to re­tain his North­land seat.

Mr Peters won North­land in a by­elec­tion af­ter Na­tional failed to re­alise how dis­grun­tled vot­ers in the north were with the lack of progress in the elec­torate.

The only ques­tion to be an­swered now is whether Prime Min­is­ter Bill English will re­turn to Dunedin to spread his spe­cial mes­sage of ‘‘blinglish’’ be­fore Satur­day.

Na­tional won the party vote in Dunedin at the last elec­tion and as ev­ery vote counts in a par­tic­u­larly close elec­tion, Mr English may feel the need to re­turn.

Ms Ardern has a pun­ish­ing sched­ule ahead of the elec­tion. She is in New Ply­mouth to­day, Hamil­ton to­mor­row and Whanganui on Mon­day.

Labour be­lieved Whanganui was a seat it could win, as Na­tional was field­ing a new can­di­date.

On Tues­day, Ms Ardern is in Welling­ton, Wed­nes­day in Auck­land, Thurs­day in Christchurch and, on the fi­nal day of can­vass­ing on Septem­ber 22, she will be back in Auck­land.

At each visit, Ms Ardern will stress the risk to New Zealand of main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo of the Na­tional­led Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘Much of the Gov­ern­ment fo­cus is on the risk of a change. We think there is a risk of stay­ing the same. Hos­pi­tals are full and hous­ing re­mains the big is­sue.’’

Ms Ardern ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at the way the de­bate had shifted away from peo­ple liv­ing in cars, the acute hous­ing short­age in South Auck­land and emer­gency de­part­ments at Auck­land and Waikato over­flow­ing and turn­ing peo­ple away.

She be­lieves she can turn the de­bate around in the last few days of the cam­paign.

Tax has been a weak point for Labour and Ms Ardern ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at the seeds be­ing planted by Na­tional, although she ad­mit­ted it was how pol­i­tics worked.

Labour was not putting up in­come tax, and never was. That was off the ta­ble.

‘‘Our plan is hav­ing 70% of fam­i­lies bet­ter off.’’

She again com­mit­ted to a new Dunedin Hos­pi­tal be­ing built on a cen­tral city site. Fund­ing would come from cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, in­cluded in Labour’s fis­cal plan.

There would be no pub­lic pri­vate part­ner­ship, as planned by the Gov­ern­ment.

Ms Ardern was ob­vi­ously en­joy­ing the cut and thrust of the cam­paign, de­spite a pun­ish­ing sched­ule.

‘‘I have an ad­van­tage over Bill: I can use a bit of rouge. I have plenty of en­ergy. This is an ex­cit­ing time — a once­in­a­life time op­por­tu­nity, although I want to make it two or three times the same op­por­tu­nity.’’

The Otago Daily Times broached the is­sue of whether Dunedin will have two cab­i­net min­is­ters if she is prime min­is­ter.

Dunedin has a long his­tory of Labour cab­i­net min­is­ters, in­clud­ing Stan Rodger, Pete Hodg­son, David Ben­son­Pope, Sir Michael Cullen and Bill Fraser.

Dunedin South MP Clare Cur­ran and Dunedin North MP David Clark could be in line for pro­mo­tion if Labour forms the next elec­tion.

But Ms Ardern played her cards very close to her chest.

‘‘You should,’’ she said. When asked again, she said it was all part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions af­ter the elec­tion but re­it­er­ated: ‘‘You should’’.

David Sey­mour

Ep­som MP David Sey­mour, who re­lies on Na­tional vot­ers giv­ing him their elec­torate vote to re­main an MP, is tak­ing a re­laxed ap­proach to his last week of can­vass­ing.

Much of it in­volves drinks. To­mor­row he is at­tend­ing the East Coast Bays ‘‘Drinks with David’’, on Mon­day he is hav­ing drinks in Auck­land Cen­tral.

On Thurs­day, he is hav­ing drinks in North Shore and on elec­tion eve he is in Ep­som, hav­ing drinks.

In be­tween he is ap­pear­ing on Face­book, and clos­ing the Welling­ton cam­paign at The Es­tab­lish­ment, a restau­rant and bar where he pos­si­bly may be hav­ing drinks.

Kaik­oura

Mr English was due in Kaik­oura early yes­ter­day morn­ing to prob­a­bly an­nounce freight was flow­ing on the main line which was se­verely dam­aged af­ter the Kaik­oura earth­quake.

High winds caused the can­cel­la­tion of his flight, leav­ing Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges to an­nounce some­thing pre­vi­ously an­nounced qui­etly in an ear­lier Ki­wiRail profit up­date.

How­ever, it be­came of­fi­cial when the first train to travel on the Pic­ton­Christchurch rail line since the earth­quake was wel­comed into Kaik­oura yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Ki­wiRail hosted a spe­cial event in the town to ac­knowl­edge the sup­port the com­mu­nity had shown Ki­wiRail and its part­ners in the North Can­ter­bury Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture Re­cover Al­liance dur­ing the re­build of the road and rail.

Mr Bridges said the first train marked the start of a five­nightsa­week ser­vice. Hav­ing the key freight ser­vice flow­ing eas­ily and ef­fi­ciently around New Zealand was crit­i­cal to eco­nomic growth.

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