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Reject division and fear: Clark

Published: 7:28AM Sunday August 21, 2005 Source: RNZ/TVNZ Interactive

Labour Party leader Helen Clark has officially kicked off her party's election campaign, with an appeal to voters to reject the politics of division and fear.

On Sunday afternoon Clark addressed a crowd of about 1200 at Auckland's Town Hall.

She outlined key election policies, including Labour's final "pledge-card" promise - the workplace-based retirement and house deposit savings scheme announced in the Budget.

"A couple who've saved in the scheme for five years will get a $10,000 grant for their deposit - because Labour believes in New Zealanders having a chance to own their own homes," Clark said.

She said putting the pledge card promises aside Labour has hundreds of other policy ideas.

"From ACC to the equality of women, from the environment to broadcasting and arts and culture, to biosecurity and conservation, to transport, telecommunications and tourism, we have ideas and initiatives which will make real differences to peoples lives and take New Zealand ahead."

Clark said her vision is for New Zealand to be a beacon of light, pointing to a future where all the talents are drawn on to build a strong cohesive, and peaceful nation.

"The alternative sets Kiwis against each other, runs down our public services, sees many people struggling, and has no all embracing vision for what we can achieve; working together and moving forward."

She said she is optimistic about this election, but not complacent.