Big bus rolls out to pick up votes

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 25/08/2014

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With four weeks until election day, the campaign to re-elect Iain Lees-Galloway mounted an "exercise in visibility" yesterday morning - via a large red bus.

Facing a strong challenge from National candidate Jono Naylor, the Labour MP said he was feeling really good about the campaign.

"There's a real buzz in the team."

Lees-Galloway spoke to the Manawatu Standard after spending the morning travelling around Palmerston North with fellow candidates Deborah Russell and Adrian Rurawhe in the "exercise in visibility", Labour's campaign bus.

Lees-Galloway said he had mounted an "old-fashioned campaign" focusing on meeting people, including regular street corner meetings in the city's suburbs.

"People actually appreciate the old-fashioned face-to-face connection," Lees-Galloway said.

For his part, Naylor, Lees-Galloway's challenger for the seat, spent yesterday in South Auckland at his party's campaign launch.

The Palmerston North mayor said the mood was "pretty buoyant", with about 2500 people in attendance.

He said he was looking forward to the next four weeks, which were going to be busy.

"There's a lot more policy that's going to come out over the next four weeks, which is what people are looking to learn about."

Naylor said there were still many voters who were yet to give a lot of serious thought to how they would vote on September 20.

"They're getting in that space to make a decision and I encourage them to make it two ticks for National." Naylor said balancing campaigning with his role as mayor was "providing a bit of a challenge" but he thought he was balancing the two well.

"What it's meaning for me is some of the administrative work I might have done in my office at one in the afternoon, I'm now going and doing it at home at nine o'clock at night."

The diaries of both candidates for the next four weeks are full of MP visits, campaign events and candidates' meetings.

One of the largest, and potentially the last, candidates' meetings will be held at All Saints Church on September 7. Organised by several church groups and environmental groups, the 1.30pm meeting has 12 candidates confirmed so far and will discuss the long-term future for New Zealand's children and the environment.

There are also candidates' meetings organised by Grey Power on Wednesday, primary teachers' union NZEI on September 3 and leadership group 3Keys on September 5.

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- Manawatu Standard

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