Turei and Ardern both cam­paign at Otara mar­kets

Venue clash comes as par­ties vie for sup­port in polls

Weekend Herald - - NEWS - Isaac Dav­i­son

For­mer Green Party co- leader Me­tiria Turei will climb back into the elec­tion cam­paign today with an ap­pear­ance at an anti- poverty rally.

The rally at the Otara mar­kets co­in­cides with a Labour Party cam­paign at the same lo­ca­tion, as the con­test for votes be­tween the two left­wing par­ties heats up.

Turei has mostly lim­ited her cam­paign­ing to her Te Tai Tonga elec­torate and some work on poverty is­sues since re­sign­ing as Green coleader five weeks ago over his­toric of­fend­ing while on wel­fare.

This af­ter­noon, she and in­equal­ity spokes­woman Marama David­son will lead the party’s rally in South Auck­land.

The con­tro­versy around Turei dented the Greens’ sup­port and led to a di­vi­sive pub­lic de­bate about wel­fare.

But David­son said she did not be­lieve it was a risk for Turei to re­turn to the cam­paign spot­light.

“Not at all. It’s been re­ally clear in the com­mu­ni­ties and on the ground across the coun­try that peo­ple have been in­spired and sat up and fi­nally lis­tened be­cause of the role that she has played in this con­ver­sa­tion.

“She is in the one that put poverty on the elec­tion ta­ble.”

Turei would front an­other an­tipoverty rally in Porirua be­fore the elec­tion.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern will also stop off at the Otara Mar­kets today to be­gin her day’s cam­paign­ing.

Labour and the Greens’ ap­pear­ance at the same lo­ca­tion is co­in­ci­den­tal, but comes at a time of height­ened com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the two par­ties.

Since Ardern be­came leader, Labour has risen dra­mat­i­cally in the polls, largely at the Greens’ ex­pense.

Ardern has stepped firmly into Green Party ter­ri­tory by plac­ing greater em­pha­sis on cli­mate change and clean­ing up New Zealand’s rivers.

In Dunedin yes­ter­day, she spoke to res­i­dents af­fected by flood­ing in 2015 and said the Gov­ern­ment needed to play a greater role in help­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to adapt to cli­mate change and mit­i­gate its ef­fects.

“Re­gard­less of whether or not it trig­gers peo­ple to vote, ac­tu­ally we’ve got a re­spon­si­bil­ity, a duty of care to peo­ple in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties to make sure that we’re do­ing out bit,” she told re­porters.

Labour’s an­nounce­ment of its cli­mate change pol­icy last week, just two days be­fore the Green an­nounced its own cli­mate pol­icy, an­gered some within the Green Party.

Labour’s pol­icy in­cluded a new goal of mak­ing New Zealand car­bon neu­tral by 2050, which is straight out of the Green Party man­i­festo.

The Greens’ for­mer chief of staff Deb­o­rah Mor­ris- Travers pub­licly ac­cused Labour of try­ing to beat the Greens with a “half- ar­sed pol­icy”.

She said on Twit­ter that Labour’s “rush job” to get in be­fore the Greens an­nounce­ment was “petty”.

Labour’s chief of staff Neale Jones re­sponded by say­ing that the pol­icy was no rush job and that the Greens were told “well in ad­vance” about it — as re­quired un­der the two par­ties’ Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing.

Na­tional Party leader Bill English spent yes­ter­day in Welling­ton, in­clud­ing a photo- friendly stop off at a kit­ten sanc­tu­ary.

“I have been a dog man but I am go­ing through a con­ver­sion here,” English told re­porters.

With one week to go un­til the elec­tion English said Na­tional wouldn’t make ma­jor changes but would fo­cus on “sharp­en­ing up the choice that vot­ers have”, in­clud­ing high­light­ing Labour’s tax plans.

“Be­tween build­ing on the strength of the New Zealand econ­omy and what is now shap­ing up as quite a dif­fer­ent way of man­ag­ing the econ­omy from Labour . . . they haven’t made a case for large change.”

Ardern also said there would be no change of tack from her party. Labour would spend the fi­nal week of cam­paign­ing fo­cus­ing on hous­ing, health and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

“After so much drift, we just have so much risk still in the sys­tem if we do not change gov­ern­ment,” she said. “There is a real risk stick­ing with the sta­tus quo. That will be our mes­sage.”

Na­tional was not the only one press­ing Labour on its tax plans yes­ter­day.

Po­ten­tial sup­port partner the Maori Party said it wanted Labour to re­solve Maori rights and in­ter­ests in water be­fore con­sid­er­ing any tax on fresh­wa­ter.

“Peo­ple de­serve to know what they’re vot­ing for,” co- leader Marama Fox said. “It’s all well and good say­ing trust us, but Maori have trust is­sues when it comes to Labour.”

The Maori Party has taken out ad­ver­tise­ments today in the Weekend Her­ald and re­gional pa­pers which say the party has “read the mood for change” and wants to be “on the right side of his­tory”.

Pres­i­dent Tukuroirangi Mor­gan said vot­ers should not take that as an en­dorse­ment of a Labour- led Gov­ern­ment. The ad­ver­tise­ment also re­minded vot­ers that Labour was the old­est party in Par­lia­ment but was “yet to do the right thing” by Maori.

Me­tiria Turei

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