Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

On the campaign trail: Leaders get out to press the flesh

David Cunliffe got a warm reception from supporters at the Avondale market yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham
David Cunliffe got a warm reception from supporters at the Avondale market yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

As the fallout from Dirty Politics swirled furiously around the political landscape, party leaders continued on the campaign trail around Auckland.

Prime Minister John Key spent the day campaigning on solid Labour turf - he visited St Lukes Mall in the Labour-held Mt Albert electorate for two hours in the morning. That afternoon he went to Mangere and spent about two hours at a Tongan church with former All Black Jonah Lomu at his side.

Lomu had tweeted support of Mr Key a few weeks earlier.

Despite the ructions of Saturday, the day Judith Collins had resigned, Mr Key got a generally warm welcome at St Lukes although one young man yelled at him and flicked a finger.

A second man was heard questioning Mr Key's supporters about why the Prime Minister was in a low- income area. "We are not rich like he is. He might get a few voters here, but it's strong Labour."

There was also some support. One girl had painted her fingernails blue in his honour and a woman said she'd vote for him. "There's no one else to vote for."

Labour leader David Cunliffe kicked off in his New Lynn electorate, getting an "absolutely wonderful reception" from about 30 supporters dressed in red at the Avondale market.

He donned a lei, bought a bag of coconut buns and headed up the road to the Titirangi market, where he was greeted with hugs and messages of support.

He then took advantage of a break in two musicians' jazz set to congratulate them on their "awesome vibe" before stopping to pose for a round of selfies with Labour supporters.

"I want to see you beat John Key," stall-holder Fellis McGuire told Mr Cunliffe. "I want to see you kick his arse."

"We're going to try and serve something up on a plate for you," Mr Cunliffe replied.

South of Auckland, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters started the day with a tour of the Clevedon Village farmers' market and the Glenbrook vintage railway. A train temporarily renamed the "Winston Express" took the Peters group the short distance to Waiuku.

- NZ Herald

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