Coverage of the Election 2011 campaign for October
6.32pm: Join us again tomorrow for more coverage.
6.25pm: TV ONE's political editor Guyon Espiner says it's "round one to Labour".
Espiner says National may have hoped to "cash in" on the "feel good factor" post-Rugby World Cup - but it is Labour that is coming up with surprises.
Labour's key strategy seems to be "policy over personality", especially with its bold move of raising the retirement age.
According to Espiner, Labour wins "kudos for taking a bold decision".
5.40pm: Oxfam has announced they are hosting a series of election debates in Auckland next week on Wednesday 2 November.
Oxfam says "with just over a month until Election Day, are key election issues like climate change and foreign affairs getting the attention they deserve"?
Dr Nick Smith will represent National, David Parker will represent Labour and Dr Kennedy Graham will represent the Green Party.
5.24pm: Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announces New Zealand is sending five Navy personnel to join Australian forces fighting terrorism and piracy in the Indian Ocean.
Mapp says "terrorism, drug smuggling, people smuggling and piracy impact on security, trade and other economic activities of all nations&we must play our part in the international response".
5.17pm: National's earthquake recovery spokesperson Gerry Brownlee announces three new categories for residential foundation design in Canterbury.
The categories are based on ground conditions, susceptibility to liquefaction and the extent of land and building damage caused by the quakes.
Brownlee says "this is part of ongoing work to improve building standards in New Zealand and the Government's coordinated response to long-term recovery in Canterbury".
5.11pm: Anthony Robins on The Standard blog says Labour is hinting that the campaign address at 7.50pm TV ONE tonight will be something different and "unlike anything we have seen before".
5.06pm: Labour candidate Grant Robertson tweets "get out the popcorn" for the campaign openings on TV ONE tonight at 7.30pm.
4.40pm: Pundit blogger Tim Watkin discusses Labour's retirement age policy.
Watkin says whether voters think Labour's policies are "brave or insane", they show the party's commitment to "saving for tomorrow rather than spending today".
Baby-boomers need to start putting money aside "pronto", according to Watkin, to avoid placing the burden on their kids and grandkids.
He says the reason why National cut contributions to New Zealand Super in 2009 is that the government would have to borrow to save - and that "doesn't make any sense".
3.54pm: The National Party says business incubators would get grants of up to $50,000 to support emerging high-tech companies.
Dr Wayne Mapp, National's science and innovation spokesperson, says "it makes sense for incubators to back up their existing support with research and development funding to help incubator firms improve their products and services".
3.46pm: Labour has "carefully checked the figures", according to finance spokesperson David Cunliffe, and National's attacks on the super policy are "misinformed and totally inaccurate".
Cunliffe says National is distorting the facts around Labour's policies and they will release their full fiscal package soon so "people can judge for themselves".
Meanwhile, "John Key won't even front the debate," says Cunliffe. "He knows he is wrong."
3.32pm: The Public Service Association (PSA) says the National Party's employment policy extends the party's scythe to the wider employment sector.
PSA's National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says it is a "hollow policy" and won't create jobs as National claims.
"Cutting young people's pay is more likely to drive them overseas", Wagstaff says.
He also says the country has seen "thousands of public sector jobs and services go since the National-led Government came to power three years ago, but very little vision on how to build a truly modern public sector that values its workers and best serves New Zealanders".
3.22pm: National wants to erode the ability of employees to get a fair deal when it comes to bargaining with their bosses, says the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).
The assistant national secretary of the union, Ged O'Connell, says "in reality, it becomes more and more a 'take it or leave it' situation for workers".
O'Connell says the policy is "code for eroding workers' rights and giving much more bargaining power to employers".
3.10pm: National's new health policy for under six-year-olds would be of real benefit to many low income households, says National Council of Women's President Elizabeth Bang.
"As an organisation working to improve the quality of life and well-being of women and their families, we're absolutely thrilled at this initiative", Bang says.
Bang says many parents can not afford medical treatment for their kids when they need it.
"If their children fell ill outside regular medical centre hours, those parents had no option but to wait until morning and hope for the best."
3.01pm: The National Party prefers to rely on "blind optimism" when it comes to protecting the environment, writes Green Party candidate David Clendon on Frog Blog.
Clendon says it is clear New Zealand does not have the capacity to respond to oil leaks.
However, the National Party still trusts in unproven technology and the private sector's ability to police itself, unlike the EU who have "just announced a proposal for tough new safety laws", he says.
2.40pm: Labour candidate Trevor Mallard posts the iPredict forecasts on Red Alert blog.
Picking out several key points from the data, Mallard writes: "If NZ First reaches 5%, Goff could govern.
Goldsmith now picked in Epsom making National's position precarious."
2.35pm: A post written by Ian Llewellyn on Electionresults.co.nz says Labour's bold policy moves have made little impact so far.
According to Llewellyn, the superannuation policy has not changed the probability of Goff becoming Prime Minister.
iPredict shows the probability of John Key becoming Prime Minister has fallen slightly, but still remaining above the 90 percent mark.
2.15pm: Opening addresses for Election 2011 start tonight, TV ONE, from 7.30pm.
2.00pm: Foxton homes would be insulated as part of the National Party's Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme, says acting spokesperson on energy and resources Hekia Parata.
Over four years, the National Party would commit $347 million to the programme.
Autex Industries, PowerShed Ltd and the Horowhenua District Council are leading the project.
With the extra funding, 1300 Foxton homes could get their homes insulated at little cost or for free.
1.36pm: National campaigners tweet about the Hobbit and sustaining New Zealand's film industry.
1.31pm: Labour candidate Paula Gillon tweets about National's youth wage proposal.
"How are they going to survive? Min wage is already bad!"
1.27pm: Anthony Robins writing for The Standard blog claims Labour confronted the "untouchable" with its Super plans - and it was "almost universally" well received.
Robins writes: "If Labour get serious about peak oil and climate change they'll be the first major political party in this country in living memory to be planning realistically for the future. What an amazing thing that would be".
Focussing on campaign policies and issues rather than the "usual cult of the leader" is also a brave move, according to Robins.
"As a country we've been saying for a long time that elections should be about policies and not personalities," says Robins. "Now we've got a chance to try it."
1.19pm: Youth affairs spokesperson Gareth Hughes says National's new employment relations policy is an attack on young workers.
"National's employment policy is not going to increase youth employment - what it is going to do is take money out of young workers pockets," says Hughes.
Hughes says the answer to youth unemployment is not youth rates but investing in training and education opportunities.
12.55pm: Foreign affairs spokesperson Murray McCully announces the National Party would pursue a Framework Agreement with the European Union.
Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative agrees to seek a mandate to upgrade the bilateral relationship.
McCully says "The European Union is a partner of first order importance for New Zealand. A politically-focused Framework Agreement would strengthen our cooperation in areas such as human rights and counter-terrorism, environmental issues and development cooperation, education, science and innovation."
12.48pm: Trevor Mallard posts "Nek Minnit National", a parody youtube clip on the credit downgrade, on Red Alert blog.
12.38pm: Darien Fenton, Labour's spokesperson for Labour Issues, says National's planned slashing of collective bargaining provisions "won't create a single job".
"It's the same old, same old," says Fenton. "It's the Employment Contracts Act in drag."
According to Fenton, they are the same ideas tried in the 1990s that failed - youth unemployment "ballooned", wages were cut and the gap between Australia and New Zealand widened.
12.22pm: Social development spokesperson Paula Bennett announces another round of Break-Away School Holiday Programmes.
Bennett says $3 million in funding would provide 30,000 one-week places in the programme over the summer holidays in April next year.
According to Bennett, the programmes are free and are targeted to high need communities where young people would not normally have access to school holiday programmes.
12.02pm: David Cunliffe, spokesperson for the Labour Party, says Labour's savings policy will grow domestic savings without having to sell assets.
"Under Labour's approach, the well-signalled, gradual increase in the entitlement age will make superannuation at 66 per cent of the average wage sustainable. It will also free up $100 billion over 30 years that can be invested in health, education, and other important services."
Without reform, says Cunliffe, a future government would have to take "drastic and sudden action" to cut Super.
11.38am: Green candidate Catherine Delahunty tweets about youth rate exploitation.
"Thanks Nats for attacking youth survival!"
11:21am: National campaigners tweet about unions talking today and silence on Labour's plan to "make people work longer" yesterday.
11.11am: National's Steven Joyce says Labour wants to "borrow billions more" at a time when the world is saying no to more debt.
Joyce claims Goff would borrow an extra $16.6b more over the next four years than is laid out in the pre election fiscal update released by the National Party last week.
"Make no mistake, Labour's recipe would mean we would owe our future."
10.56am: David Cunliffe, finance spokesperson for the Labour Party, hits back at claims made by David Farrar on Kiwiblog.
Cunliffe rejects claims that Labour have admitted their KiwiSaver policy will lower wages.
10.53am: Labour's Auckland Central candidate Jacinda Adern says cutting pay is not the way to get young people to succeed in the job market.
"You don't improve the lot of our future generations by paying them less than an older person doing the same job. There is no justification whatsoever in doing it," says Adern.
Adern says Labour's plans for youth employment include giving employers "the equivalent of the dole" to take on apprentices.
10.41am: The Green Party will hold an interactive online programme called "The Green Room" at the same time as the leader debates on TV ONE on October 31 at 7pm.
Metiria Turia, Green Party co-leader says "New Zealanders deserve to hear a range of views on the big issues our country faces. Having an old fashioned National versus Labour debate means Kiwis are denied the full range of political opinions."
Over 21% of New Zealanders voted for a party other than National or Labour, says Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
"'The Green Room' is for all those who are looking for an alternative."
10.37am: Phil Goff says National leadership is divided over Labour's proposed changes to New Zealand Super.
"John Key claims he is skipper of his party," says Goff. "Well he is clearly facing a mutiny. While he says he won't support raising the age of entitlement for New Zealand Super, Bill English has admitted there is merit to a gradual increase in the age saying it is a 'legitimate debate.'"
10.25am: National unveils a Labour parody website called "owe our future".
10.16am: Kiwiblog's David Farrar predicts a lot of comment from unions today in relation to National's Employment Relations Policy - despite their silence yesterday on Labour proposing to lift the age of eligibility.
Farrar says the policy, which is "in total contrast to Labour's desire to return to the 1970s", could help the unions "rediscover their voices".
10.06am: Key and the National party are using young people as "cannon fodder" to please big business, says Mana Party's Sue Bradford.
"Everyone in this country deserves equal work for equal pay. There is no reason except prejudice and the profit taking to force more young people on to a disgraceful minimum wage of $10.40 an hour," says Bradford.
9.57am: Labour's new super policy is an attack on working Kiwis, says the Alliance Party.
The party says Labour has let its supporters down with a "right wing and poorly thought through superannuation policy".
Kevin Campbell, an Alliance Party candidate, says the policy will leave Labour's traditional supporters "dumbfounded and reeling".
9.48am: BusinessNZ's Chief Executive Phil O'Reilly says National's 'starting out' wage proposal is a good move forward, but "not enough".
"More needs to be done, especially around creating clearer pathways from school to tertiary education to work, with linkages to other youth employment initiatives already in place," he says.
O'Reilly also backs the 'flexible working rules' plans, saying it is "simply common sense".
9.31am: Labour candidate Grant Robertson slams National Party leader John Key for not appearing on Close Up last night.
Robertson says on Red Alert blog "leadership is not just about having your face on a billboard".
9.29am: National campaigners claim Labour's "savings" policy would only add to debt.
9.20am: Blogger Cactus Kate tweets Phil Goff is like the "average kid in class who can't get the teacher's attention".
9.19am: Labour candidate Trevor Mallard posts about asset sales on Red Alert blog.
Mallard posts a graph that shows the health of the New Zealand economy had 49% of the energy state-owned enterprises been sold in 1999.
It says the economy would be "$6 billion worse off today if the Energy SOEs had been privatized in 1999".
9.13am: Goff challenges Key to "front up" with his position on the age of entitlement for Super.
Key previously supported a gradual increase in age but now claims to be against it, according to Goff.
"Now he suddenly claims it is a 'cruel joke' to gradually lift the age by a couple of years over 22 years," says Goff.
"What does he really believe?"
8.59am: Leader of the Labour Party Phil Goff tweets Key does not have the "guts" to debate the issues that matter to Kiwis.
8.56am: National campaigners tweet about young workers getting real experience.
8.40am: Key releases details of the National Party's employment relations policy.
He says the policy "brings better balance to labour market rules. It encourages growth, creates jobs and protects workers' rights".
"Flexible working arrangements" and a review of constructive dismissal are also part of the package.
8.30am: National Party leader John Key announces the party's new youth wage policy.
Young people can expect 80% of the adult wage, which means about $10.40 an hour.
Key says the move will give employers more confidence in taking on young staff and make it easier for young people to find work.