Cunliffe takes campaign to Otara

JOSH FAGAN
Last updated 17:40 04/08/2014

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Labour leader David Cunliffe has gone out on the hustings in South Auckland in a bid to convince voters an upset election win is "within striking range".

Cunliffe said he was optimistic he could be the next prime minister.

"I'm entirely confident we can do this," he said.

"Nobody said it was easy but it's doable."

Cunliffe met voters in Otara, where he said he was maximising party support in the traditional Labour heartland.

He described National's claims it was gaining ground in Mangere and other parts of South Auckland as "absolute rubbish".

"Our polling shows the reverse ... It's a desperate PR sideshow from the National Party and there's no truth to it."

Cunliffe told a small group of about 12 people who turned up to hear him speak at Manukau Institute of Technology that the best thing for jobs and the economy would be to oust National.

Labour was within 3 per cent or 4 per cent of forming a coalition government, he said.

"We're within striking range."

Labour's new youth employment policy and a plan to lift the minimum wage by $2 per hour were key areas that could help raise standards of living, he said.

He was also against foreigners buying up New Zealand properties to speculate on.

"New Zealand houses should be for New Zealand families."

Labour still had a few tricks left up its sleeve with a series of policy announcements planned for the coming weeks.

"We've got some surprises in store," Cunliffe said.

"I'm sure by election day people will enthusiastically be wanting a Labour-led government."

Otara resident Ropina Faaea said she would most likely vote Labour.

"I'm Samoan so I'm supportive of Labour," she said.

"Everyone in Otara goes for Labour because we're not rich.

"But I've had enough of all this crap. Whoever wins it's all the same."

Business owners in the Otara town centre said they were all backing Labour, but Mrs Patel from the $2 variety and gifts store said she was having second thoughts after Cunliffe didn't stop to say hello to her.

"He went past the shop and he did not even wave," she said.

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- Fairfax Media

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