Cunliffe upbeat despite sliding polls

Last updated 08:11 02/04/2014
Fairfax NZ
DAVID CUNLIFFE: Polling would even out over the campaign proper, when issues of inequality and flaws in the economy would rise to the fore.
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Remaining upbeat in the face of successive sliding polls, Labour leader David Cunliffe says the "left-right balance" will ensure September's election is a tight one.

Two new polls published at the weekend held mixed results for National, but showed eroding support both for Labour and Cunliffe as its leader.  

This morning he denied the polls were pointing to a one-sided affair.

"So the key trend here is in an MMP election ... you've got to look at the left vs right balance and there's only a couple of per cent in that, and like a couple of other elections we can remember - 2005 and 1996 spring to mind - this is going to be a cliffhanger," Cunliffe said on Firstline.

"We'll be campaigning right down to the wire, and I'm out and about all around the country a lot more and really we're going to be campaigning on the ground in communities and this is going to be a real cliffhanger of an election."

The One News Colmar Brunton poll had National down 4 percentage points since its last poll in mid-February, but still holding 47 per cent of the vote, more than the next two largest parties combined.

Labour meanwhile was down 3 percentage points to 31 per cent.

The 3 News-Reid Research poll had National climbing, although from a lower base, by 1.4 percentage points to 45.9 per cent, while Labour dropped 2.3 percentage points to 31.2 per cent.

Recent polls have suggested support for Labour is slipping, with one recent poll showing Labour was on 29 per cent, although the more recent Roy Morgan poll had Labour up 1 percentage point to 31.5 per cent.

Cunliffe said polling would even out over the campaign proper, when issues of inequality and flaws in the economy would rise to the fore.

"There's a tax bias in favour of speculators. We want to be an innovative economy; actually, we're a speculative one.

"Until we have a government that has the courage to address the problem of tax-free capital gains, like every other developed country virtually has done, we won't fix that problem and Labour's going to do that."

While many would resist a capital gains tax, Cunliffe said it could be offset in other ways and he called the Government's asset sale programme an unmitigated "disaster".

He said he believed voters would punish the Government at the ballot box, and vote Labour so "we can buy some of these assets back". 

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