Goff promises week of hard Labour

JOHN HARTEVELT
Last updated 15:39 20/11/2011
Labour leader Phil Goff.
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
HARD LABOUR: Phil Goff has promised to work harder than ever has in the final week of Labour's election campaign.

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In a call to arms to Labour supporters, leader Phil Goff has today promised to "work harder this week than I ever have" as the party fights to stave off electoral disaster next weekend.

Around 600 Labour supporters gathered in an auditorium at Auckland Girls' Grammar College this afternoon for a rally designed to kick-start the final week of campaiging.

Speaking in front of a live clock, counting down the seconds to Saturday's election, Goff said he would fight for his party right up until midnight on Friday - "because there is no going back."

"We are six days and four hours out from the close of the polls and I want you to join me in one last big push to save our assets," Goff said.

"Six days of relentless campaigning to stop New Zealand going down a path of no return."

Goff said the country's debt burden had "soared" while the John Key-led Government "borrowed billions to give the biggest tax cuts to those who don't need them."

"We haven't saved enough and our ageing population is set to cost us more if we don't take action now."

Goff got personal, raising his wife Mary, whose father had had come back from the war and helped to build the dams on the Waikato River.

"The very dams that John Key wants to sell to foreign banks," he said.

"That's what I'm fighting for."

He outlined a series of Labour policies on savings and the retirement age.

"These policies won't please everyone but they are the right thing to do."

He promised a lift in the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the first year of a Labour-led Government.

"Yet of all our policies, one stands above all other. There are two simple words that have defined this election campaign - asset sales.
Labour's position is crystal clear - New Zealand is not for sale.
Never.

"My first act as Prime Minister will be to call an immediate halt to all work on asset sales. I'd call the officials in to my office and deliver the message personally."

Goff arrived to chants of "Labour, Labour".

Tamaki Makaura candidate Shane Jones welcomed the audience with words in Te Reo Maori. The party's unofficial kaumatua Parekura Horomia followed up with further greetings in Te Reo, including references to John Key and Bill English which raised laughs.

Goff was introduced by comedian Oskar Keightley said the election would be opportunity to get the country back on track.

"I still believe there is more cool people than stink people in this country," Keightley said.

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The party's closing broadcast, shown for the first time at this afternoon's rally, was a documentary-style piece. As in the party's opening address, it again focused on Labour's past achievements in Government, running off a list of policies that raised cheers.

It then turned to the party's promises, all lined up in front of New Zealand scenery.

The broadcast featured rising star David Shearer and Nanaia Mahuta.

"National's plan is to keep the rich rich and the poor poor," Mahuta said.

She suggested the Rena grounding had been as a result of deregulation.

The broadcast also featured a Massey University politics and public policy lecturer speaking strongly in favour of Labour's policies and against National's plans.

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