Election 2011: Latest Updates Nov 16

Missed something from the campaign trail? nzherald.co.nz has the latest election updates as we count down to November 26.

Election. Photo / Martin Sykes.
Election. Photo / Martin Sykes.

It's 4pm and that is the end of our coverage for now. The top stories of the day have been:

- John Key has "stormed out" of a press conference in Wellington this afternoon and has since cancelled many media engaement scheduled for the afternoon.
- Phil Goff and his Labour party were interrupted in Kawerau today by protestors against National's plan to close Kawerau Intermediate. The Labour party appeared quite pleased by this.
- The Greens Wellington central candidate, James Shaw, has rang National candidate Paul Foster-Bell and offered to pay for replacement National hoardings in the electorate.

We'll be back tomorrow for more latest updates, so for now, good night!

3:54pm: Radio NZ reports that the Labour Party will restore cuts made to frontline biosecurity services if it was elected to government.

Releasing the policy in Te Puke today, the party's leader Phil Goff said National had relaxed the vigilance needed against new diseases and pest threats.

3:42pm: NZ Herald reporter Michael Dickison has written about Labour's employment policy. "The Labour Party wants to put more New Zealanders to work by training them in relevant skills as part of its six-point jobs plan."

3:36pm: Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman, Garth McVicar has said "most people will see Nationals 'drugs-or-dole' policy as sensible".

This is in response to Drug councilor Roger Brooking's statement criticising National's hard-line approach to prisoners. Brooking has said Corrections needed to switch to therapy, something McVicar said was "namby-pamby".

3:24pm: Tracy Watkins of the Dominion Post writes that at the moment in the campaign, every day feels like "Groundhog Day", with most journalist waiting until the last minute to board flights or buses with politicians for the next stop on the trail.

She writes "At this point in the campaign, most journalists fervently wish the email [with the itinery of each politician] would follow the rest of the script and self-destruct, sparing them from having to board another flight to take their place in "the leader's entourage".

3:18pm: There is an anti-fracking protest occuring outside parliament. Scoop writer Lloyd Burr tweets:

@LloydBurr
"Anti-fracking protesters at Parliament - they have made a mini drill and have faux workers," #votenz. With pic.

3:17pm: Felix Marwick tweets again.
@felixmarwick
"United Future wants independent scrutiny of political party policy costings." #decision2011

3:10pm: Newstalk ZB chief political reporter Felix Marwick tweets:
@felixmarwick
"Goff wonders if Key is up to the job after media stand up walk out." #decision2011

3:08pm: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng tweets from National's campaign: @dchengnzh
"John Key signs a $10 note for cafe romeo in upper hutt, which also has a $5 signed by helen clark" With pic.

It's 3:00pm and the best stories of the day so far are:

- John Key has "stormed" out of a press conference in Wellington
- Labour's campaign in Kawerau was interrupted by protestors fighting National to keep Kawerau Intermediate open, much to Labour's delight.
- The Greens Wellington central candidate, James Shaw, has rang National candidate Paul Foster-Bell and offered to pay for replacement National hoardings in the electorate.

2:57pm: The Greens Wellington central candidate, James Shaw, has offered to fund the replacement of National billboards in his electorate, according to Newstalk ZB.

2:53pm: TV One news reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan tweets from Kawerau @hdpaONENEWS
"Not your usual protest placard." With pic.

2:48pm: Phil Goff tweets from Kawerau @phil_goff
"Listening to students at Trade Education in Kawerau tell their stories about trying to learn a trade & get a good job." With pic.

2:45pm: National have announced they will boost trade missions to Asia should they get re-elected, according to Radio NZ.

2:39pm: Phil Goff tweets from Kawerau: @phil_goff
Kids, teachers & parents of Kawerau Intermediate have just turned up to protest against the Nats closing their school." With pic.

2:35pm: Transport Minister Steven Joyce should tell Dunedin and the workers at Hillside Rail Workshops whether a National Government would ensure it has a future, according to the latest Labour press release.

2:25pm: The Mana party claim the Maori party has ignored the Maori Women's Welfare League. They say the League has been overlooked to provide Whanau Ora services.

"Branch members in Waiariki are angry that the Maori Party has ignored one of Maoridom's most successful institutions, when it comes to health, housing and education."

2:21pm: And tweets again:
@CTrevettNZH
And further cheered by this little protest that sprang up." With pic.

2:19pm: NZ Herald deputy political editor Claire Trevett tweets:
@CTrevettNZH
"Strangely enough, Phil Goff very enthusiastic about his standups today...down here in Kawerau".

2:04pm: Newstalk ZB reporter Nicola Grigg reports none of the political parties have impressed leaders of the country's secondary schools.

"Secondary Principals' Association president, Patrick Walsh, says none of the major parties has announced policy that will combat current funding shortfalls."

2:00pm: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng has been following the National party campaign trail. He tweets:
@dchengnzh
"John Key's office denying he pulled out of media stand-up. Says he was never going to give one despite it being on media advisory." #votenz

1:48pm: 3News blogger Ally Mullord has tried to make the voting system a tad more intersting. In her blog "Voting systems: a not boring guide," she uses the example of the Happy Feet Penguin political party to explain the system.

"The Happy Feet Penguin Political Party (HFPPP) gets 50 percent of the vote, because of its charismatic leader and 'black and white policies'. That's 60 seats in Parliament for the HFPPP.

Candidates from the HFPPP won 20 electorate seats, leaving a gap of 40 - so the 40 highest-ranked MPs on the HFPPP party list come into Parliament. These 40 list MPs bring the HFPPP up to their 60 seats.

Sadly, they do not achieve anything, because they are all penguins."

It's 1:42pm and the big stories in the media so far are:

- John Key has stormed out of a press conference in Wellington this afternoon.
- Questions about Dr Russell Norman's leadership have arised regarding the fact that his own assistant's partner was responsible for National billboard defacement.
- Winston Peters have fired back at John Key's claims that he is an "unstable" leader.

1:35pm: Critics have said that the implementation of National's plan to stop benefit fraud is flawed and may cost the taxpayer more.

Radio NZ reports the plan to increase data matching to assist in benefit fraud prosecutions will cost about $700,000.

1:33pm: Don Brash is on Radio Live right now. Listen live.

1:32pm: The Listener blogger Toby Manhire has given a summary of what the bloggers are saying today. Check out his live blog here.

1:29pm: Derek Cheng, political reporter for the NZ Herald, tweets:
@dchengnzh
"John Key has pulled out of a planned media conference at 130pm to update on Apec and TPP." #votenz

1:22pm: APNZ reporter Amelia Romanos writes "Labour is hoping for a last-week election campaign boost with plans to host a rally this weekend and step up its TV advertising."

1:17pm: Feeling slightly confused by political policy speak? Woburn International have summarised both Labour's and National's immigration policies in plain English here on Scoop.

1:11pm: The Hamilton city council has reported that the New Zealand Traffic institute (TRAFINZ) debate will occur today between National candidate David Bennet, Labour's Shane Jones and the Green's Gareth Hughes.

The candidates will meet to discuss transport and road safety issues and the public are welcome to attend.

1:06pm: The Tamaki Makaurau election debate will be held on Maori television on Monday, November 21. On it, Maori Party leader Dr Pita Sharples will meet Mana's Kereama Pene, Labour's Shane Jones and the Green's Mikaere Curtis.

According to the press release: "The hour-long programme will include questions about the Maori Party's coalition with National, crime and justice, unemployment, education and the cost of living. "

1:03pm: NZ Herald columnist David Farrar tweets @dpfdpf
"Any journalist who uses the phrase "stormed out" in relation to what happened should be ashamed."

12:28pm: Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance tweets
@avancenz
"So was the PM's walkout genuine exasperation or pre-planned?" #votenz

12:19pm: TVNZ has a live chat going with Act leader Don Brash.

In regards to interest free student loans, he said "I'm very comfortable with the taxpayer contributing to the cost of a tertiary education. The question is rather how much should that contribution be. "

12:16pm: The Muffin Break Bean Poll has National beginning to gain some ground after falling below 40% in its first week. Close to 38,000 votes have been cast in the first two weeks of New Zealand's largest pre-election poll, which now puts the National Party on 42%, up 3% from week one.

12:07am: Right wing political commentator Matthew Hooten has questioned Dr Russell Norman's leadership over the Green party.

"The problem for Russel Norman is he's saying he doesn't know anything about it but that means in his own office, in the office right next door, his PA's office, this thing was being organised ... and he didn't know what was going on right under his nose,'' he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

Mr Hooton says the Greens have acted very ethically over this by helping the National Party remove the stickers.

12:03pm: Scoop writer Lyndon Hood tweets
@lyndonhood
"The last National leader who walked out of a press conference in the late election period ended up leading Act."

11:52am: Sue Bradford wrote on NZ Herald live chat in regards to the Green party billboard vandals:

"I certainly don't think Jolyon and Anne should be subject to fines at all - not even arrested. . . I can't believe people believe that putting removable sticky change outs on billboards is such a major crime.

11:49am: Newstalk ZB reports that further cuts to Defence Force bureaucracy can be expected if National retain power after the election.

11:43am: Derek Cheng, political reporter from NZ Herald reports "Prime Minister John Key has this morning refused to answer any questions about the 'tea cup' tape and, when pressed, walked out of a media stand-up."

11:41am: A Colmar Brunton Poll just released to Scoop via the Labour party shows huge backing for public transportation.

"The Colmar Brunton-World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) poll shows 70 per cent of Kiwis want more money for improving public transport, while 78 per cent of Aucklanders say more of the transport budget should be spent on public transport in major urban areas."

11:38am: Reports are coming in that John Key has just stormed out of a press conference a week and a half before the election. More soon.

11:37am: Derek Cheng is at a press conference on the National campaign trail @dchengnzh
"@johnkeypm repeatedly said he wanted to talk about the ecomony, then stormed off." #votenz

11:34am: Mana party member Sue Bradford is on NZ Herald Live chat now. She describes Hone Harawira in one word: "courageous".

11:32am: To read National's full trade policy released today, see here.

11:29am: 3News reports that National Epsom candidate Paul Goldsmith has been going around removing his own billboards from the Epsom area today.

11:23am: Scoop reports the Kawerau community came out to support their intermediate school last night, which will be closed and merged into the local high school at the end of the year.

Labour list MP in Rotorua Steve Chadwick has said Kawerau locals have lost faith in National because of this decision to shut the school. "This is now an election issue for the people of Kawerau," said Chadwick.

11:20am: A Radio Live - HorizonPoll finds four of out 10 voters have yet to make a final decision on which party to vote for in the November 26 general election - and 5.8% will leave it until they are actually in the polling booth.

11:14am: Kiwiblog and NZ Herald column writer David Farrar has put the results of an informal survey about the preferred electoral system in New Zealand on his site. He asked questions via Twitter and Facebook and the results are here.

11:12am: Remember, Mana party candidate Sue Bradford will be answering your questions at 11:30am this morning on NZ Herald live chat.

11:10am: Phil Goff is campaigning from Tauranga today.
@phil_goff
"With students of Te Puna School at the Tauranga Foodbank." With pic.

11:07am: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng is at it again:
@dchengnzh
"@johnkeypm tells Fed Farmers intervening in the exchange rate is about as useful as "an astray on a motorbike"." #votenz

It's 11:03am and the top stories of the day so far are:

- Winston Peters has hit back at claims from John Key that he is an "unstable" leader.
- Green party hopeful that the "embarrassing connection" to the National billboard defacement will not affect their place in the polls.
- iPredict polls predict Mana will have three MPs in parliament after the election.

10:58am: The National party will release their trade policy today. The focus of the policy will be in three areas, including boosting trade missions.

10:55am: The Greens have accused the National party of being out of touch with New Zealanders who want more money to be invested in public infrastructure.

In a statement from the party: "The public knows it's irresponsible to borrow billions for motorways with poor business cases when traffic is down, petrol is up and public transport patronage is growing."

10:52am: Another tweet from Derek Cheng
@dchengnzh
"@johnkeypm tells Fed Farmers National would walk away from any trade agreement that excludes agricultural interests." #votenz #tradepolicy

10:48am: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng tweets from the National party campaign trail.
@dchengnzh
@johnkeypm announces 28 trade missions focusing on china, india and ASEAN over the next 3 years #votenz #tradepolicy

10:43am: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has posted a short clip on his site from Hogans Heroes, claiming Russel Norman is channeling "Sgt Shultz".

This comes just after statements were released by disgraced former Green member Jolyon White, saying although he coordinated the billboard defacement, he "wasn't actively involved".

10:27am: 3News editor James Murray tweets @3NewsEditor
"RT @SirDonRevie #JacindaArdern billboard in Auck Central has been graffiti'd to say she has moves like Jagger. Lol." #votenz

10:18am: The Otago Daily Times reports on a meeting with NZ First leader Winston Peters at Canterbury Jockey Club on Saturday. Peters told "Taking the Pulse" reporters "I'm going to bust this campaign apart."

10:14am: Radio NZ news reports that Te Tai Tonga is likely to be the closest in the Maori electorates. Rahui Katene of the Maori Party said to Radio NZ that her "party's polling this election has her well ahead of the other candidates, and she is feeling confident."

10:10am: Green co-leader Metiria Turei has said to Radio NZ's Morning Report that naming the billboard attacker was the right thing to do. "We don't play those dirty tricks ... and that's important for members to know that."

10:08am: Citizen Bomber Martyn Bradbury tweets:
@CitizenBomber
"One persons middle class vandalism is another's under class activism."

9:51am: Mana Party candidate Sue Bradford has told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning that National's plan to drug test beneficiaries is "an incredible invasion of people's private lives".

9:49am: Radio NZ reports "funding cuts under National have resulted in some small town public sector offices closing," according to Labour's state services spokesperson Ruth Dyson. The Labour Party has pledged to rebuild public services.

9:38am: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has posted the latest cartoon from Emmerson on the Greens' vandalism. He has also offered commentary on negative campaigning vs Illegal campaigning:

"Campaigns should tell the truth about their opponents, and they should have to prove they are telling the truth. There is no room for the stupid, illegal campaign run by the Greens that has blown up in their face."

9:34am: Kiwiblog and Herald Online columnist David Farrar has put together a list of MPs who cannot vote for themselves because of where they live and where they are standing.

He writes: "The most geographically remote MP will be David Parker who is enrolled in Dunedin North but standing in Epsom!"

9:28am: Former Prime Minister David Lange's brother Peter Lange has told the NZ Herald that people should "hold their nose" and vote for National candidate Paul Goldsmith in Epsom. He said his actions stem from anger at the "match fixing" of the electorate by John Key and National.

9:21am: iPredict, a forecaster of election results has suggested that the Mana party will have three MPs in Parliament after the election. Party leader Hone Harawira has said in response ""The poor need a voice. The poor need a team who will fight for them and if you were poor which team would you want - Goff, Beaumont, Burns and Huo - or Harawira, Sykes, Minto and Bradford?"

9:17am: Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has stated in a report from Newstalk ZB's Felix Marwick, that National's plan to cut down on welfare fraud is too harsh because "we don't have a problem with welfare fraud that deserves this level of attention."

9:13am: "The Greens are hopeful an embarrassing connection to an election dirty tricks campaign won't dent their polling." writes Newstalk ZB political reporter Felix Marwick.

This fear is shared in a NZ Herald editorial which says Jolyon White's actions "may be enough to make some of their new-found supporters think again."

9:12am: Katie Bradford-Crozier, Newstalk ZB reporter, says "National has released its Maori Affairs policy but it's light on new details. It talks up achievements over the past three years in supporting iwi enterprise, providing warmer and drier state houses and improving Maori healthcare."

9:10am: Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper says "The Greens are furious about National's plans to make it easier for oil and gas companies to carry out exploration off our coastline. National says it could increase revenue from $3 billion to $12 billion by opening up to 17 more basins for exploration."

8:59am: NZ Herald education reporter Elizabeth Binning writes that the restructuring plan developed by National regarding the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour system in schools, will mean some children with special needs will be forced into mainstream classes at the end of the year.

Takapuna Primary school principal Cindy Walsh has commented regarding one affected girl, "I'm afraid for children like her in the mainstream," she said. "It's really difficult for some of these children and their parents because some of them have already been in mainstream and it hasn't worked."

8:51am: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng writes that the Ohariu seat in Wellington is one United Future leader Peter Dunne really needs. "The northern Wellington seat of Ohariu is one of the most hotly contested. In 2008, only 294 votes separated United Future's Peter Dunne, Labour's Charles Chauvel and National's Katrina Shanks."

8:48am: National MP Tau Henare tweets:
@tauhenare West Side Tory
"The Welfare requirements laid out yesterday by @paulabennetmp are fantastic. Should've happened ages go." #personalresponsibility

8:45am: The release of National's transport plan coincided with the phased opening of the Victoria tunnel, and was thus met with traffic jams as people tried to drive through it. NZ Herald reporter Mathew Dearnaley writes "National's strategists should perhaps have taken note of warning signs and adverts before releasing their transport policy on opening day for Auckland's new motorway tunnel."

8:40am: Sue Bradford tweets regarding the eviction of state home tenants in Glen Innes. @suebr
"Very late notice - u r invited to a picket 9.30 this am vs forcible removal of GI state tenants - meet 9.30am Ruapotaka Marae, Line Rd, GI"

8:37am: NZ Herald reporter Adam Bennett and APNZ political reporter Amelia Romanos have written that the investigation of billboard vandalism claims against members of the Green party will not take place until after the election.

8:35am: Mana Party candidate Sue Bradford will be on NZ Herald live chat today from 11:30am.

8:31am: NZ Herald reporter Jamie Morton writes that NZ First leader Winston Peters has hit back over Prime Minister John Key's claims that he was "unstable" and that he has been sacked by every prime minister he has worked with. Winston Peters labels that "lies".

8:24am: NZ Herald deputy political reporterClaire Trevett writes regarding National's plan to crack down on welfare fraud. "Benefit fraud cost the country $200 million last year and about 25,000 current beneficiaries had either committed fraud in the past or received significant over-payments by not disclosing changes in their circumstances. Mr Key said too many believed welfare was there for a "free ride''.

8:21am: Chris Slane, cartoonist for the Listener has drawn up a new cartoon for live blogger Toby Manhire showing Winston Peters "aging support".

8:18am: The man responsible for the billboard attack, Jolyon White, has told TV One's Close Up that "It was worth it." He does admit that he should have resigned from the party beforehand.

8:14am: Dr Russell Norman, co-leader of the Green party has appeared on TVNZ's Breakfast claiming the Greens are not an activist party. He said ""Well, when you think about our three top priorities in the campaign - the first one is getting kids out of poverty ... then we're talking about rivers and green jobs ... we're very interested in issues of social justice."

8:07am: Citizen bomber Martyn Bradbury tweets @CitizenBomber
"If the Greens don't want activists, I think the MANA Party will want them..."

8:02am: University of Otago lecturer Bryce Edwards has written that the election campaign has become a "circus". He said "Where is all the policy focus that was promised for the campaign? Why has it all suddenly descended into trivialities, legalities, and pettiness? "

8:00am: Radio NZ's Morning Report starts with a familiar refrain "We hoped John Key would come on the programme but ..."

Welcome back to our latest updates of the election coverage. We'll be bringing you live updates throughout the day.

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