Election 2011: Latest updates Nov 21

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

Election. Photo / Richard Robinson
Election. Photo / Richard Robinson

It's 4pm and that's all our live updates for the moment. We'll be back tomorrow morning to bring you more coverage throughout the day.

Just to recap the main stories:

- Labour is facing criticism and a complaint from the Electoral Commission in regards to brochures sent to welfare mothers that appear threatening.
- Winston Peters has hit back at claims from John Key that any government with him in it would be "unstable" and has challenged John Key to a public debate.
- National released their education policy, something declared as nothing but PR by the Labour party.

We'll be back tomorrow so until then, goodnight!

3:54pm: NZ Herald columnist and blogger David Farrar tweets
@dpfdpf
"Labour are repeating their 2005 state house smear campaign. Desperate and nasty." #votenz. With pic.

3:51pm: The Bay of Plenty Times reports that "tempers flared when four rival political candidates gatecrashed MP Simon Bridges' street corner meeting in Tauranga on Saturday.

"The protest, by Labour's Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, Brendan Horan from NZ First, Greens candidate Ian McLean and Mana's Jayson Gardiner, came after Mr Bridges failed to front at any of the candidate debates in Tauranga."

3:47pm: APNZ reporter Amelia Romanos writes "Students borrowing money to study will face tighter restrictions under the Nationals' education policy, announced today.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said National was committed to retaining the interest-free loan scheme but planned to adjust the terms for borrowing."

For the full article, see here.

3:45pm: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has accused Labour of threatening again in their advertising, this time in the brochure threatening evictions under National.

3:42pm: If you want to check out Newstalk ZB personality Mike Hosking's interview with John Key, the videos for part one and two are on the NZ Herald website now.

3:39pm: Newstalk ZB reports New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been welcomed to Hamilton this afternoon.

While there, "Mr Peters addressed John Key's claim that New Zealand First would hamstring parliament by refusing to provide confidence and supply to a major party" and called the comments from Key "a bit rich".

3:36pm: Phil Goff is standing by the controversial pamplets sent to beneficiaries, according to Newstalk ZB.

"It's a hard hitting leaflet so that's what it is, it tells the truth, that's what the National Party will require."

3:31pm: Keep MMP have posted a statement on Scoop. "The Prime Minister has made MMP work, and the public should have absolute confidence in his ability to continue doing so after the election if National forms a government.

"John Key said today on the Mike Hosking Breakfast show that he believed MMP would win the referendum on Saturday."

3:26pm: If you want to make the debate tonight a little more interesting, Toby Manhire has posted on his Listener live blog "Listener live Debate Bingo".

There are four cards with similar words, all in different places. Whenever either Phil Goff or John Key say one of the words, mark it off and you might get Bingo.

3:22pm: Felix Marwick tweets
@felixmarwick
"Labour says Nat's education policy is a rehash, reannounced, and uncosted." #decision2011

3:21pm: There are only a few days left to enrol to vote, with at least 240,000 still not enrolled. The last chance to do so is Friday.

3:17pm: Phil Goff has also attacked National's "shonky" accounting, despite being unable to come up with details of Labour's fiscal policy, according to Radio NZ.

3:15pm: Phil Goff is accusing the National party of preparing a "fire sale" of New Zealand's assets, according to Radio NZ.

He told a small crowd of Labour MPs, candidates and supporters that New Zealanders do not want assets, such as the power plant, sold.

"It belongs to you as New Zealanders and we are determined that in five days' time it will still belong to you as New Zealanders, because we're going to keep our assets by voting in a Labour-led government."

3:13pm: If you want to find your local electorate, check out our Electorate Map here.

3:11pm: The Dominion Post reports that National's education policy would mean primary schools would, from next year, be required to publish their results against the National Standards.

3:09pm: The Green party tweets:
@NZGreens
"All welcome tomorrow 9am at Accessible Elections launch at Deaf Society Clubrooms, 164 Balmoral Road, Akld." #votenz

It's 3:05pm: and the biggest stories of the day so far are:

- Labour's brochure targetting mothers on welfare has been labelled threatening and prompted a complaint from the Electoral Commission.
-John Key has lashed out at Winston Peters, calling any government with him in it "unstable".
- Winston Peters has challenged John Key to a public debate in response.
- And an Epsom street survey shows National candidate Paul Goldsmith ahead in the polls.

3:01pm: Labour candidate Sue Moroney has slammed National's education policy, calling it a "PR stunt".

"This wasn't a policy launch that had children's access to education at the heart of it. It was a PR stunt to sell an incredibly unpopular asset sales policy. What a cynical way to use children," she said.

2:50pm: The Labour brochure featured earlier has been mistaken for a death threat by some women who received it.

A Labour flyer personally addressed to mothers on welfare has been labelled "threatening" and prompted a complaint to the Electoral Commission. The image on it is that of a baby girl and the words "Under Labour, you won't be around for her first birthday."

2:33pm: Act Epsom candidate John Banks believes the tide of public opinion will turn his way, according to Newstalk ZB.

All recent opinion polls covering the electorate have shown him well behind National's Paul Goldsmith.

2:25pm: Joshua Drummond of the Waikato Times writes that sometimes the best thing about an election is the signs - but they can be a little confusing, despite the crudely drawn penises on each and every one. He tells a story from the point of view of a potential voter.

"The signs make him worry, though. So far, he has liked all the party messages. But what if the other parties have secret agendas contrary to the ones he has just liked so much? Maybe ACT wants more unreal jobs. The Greens might desire to unprotect the environment. Perhaps Labour will try and destroy Christchurch even further, instead of rebuilding it."

When a cat crosses his path in the midst of all his confusion, he thinks:

"It makes no demands for votes, nor does it offer pat solutions to large problems. Even better, it features a refreshing lack of crudely-drawn penises."

So he decides, on election day to vote for cats.

"If everyone voted for cats, Parliament wouldn't look any different."

2:21pm: James Murray tweets
@3NewsEditor
"RT @danielcruden: Heads-up for Key ahead of his meeting with @phil_goff tonight... There may, just may, be someone recording you..."#votenz

2:15pm: 3News have done a round up of the weirdest, wackiest parties ever to try and make it to parliament. Nominees include the Bill and Ben party and the National Socialist party, to name a few.

2:11pm: Labour MP David Shearer tweets
@DavidShearerMP
"Hosting street corner meetings in Owairaka tomorrow. If you're in the area, pop down for a chat." #votenz #mtalbert. With meeting list.

2:03pm: Andrew Geddis at Pundit discusses why National like Winston Peters success in the polls. He writes that John Key "just needs to point to the potentially stormy waters approaching and leave it to voters to clamber up themselves."

Geddis writes that any attack on Winston is more publicity taken from Labour and also says that as John Key has already specified his preference for Single Member voting, "who is the poster boy for the evils of MMP?"

2:00pm: Radio Live reports that student teachers will be tested to ensure they are in the right profession if National gets re-elected. These students will have to have the right personality and characteristics to become a teacher.

1:51pm: In another Labour press release "The Maori Party are scrambling their message on asset sales, says Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta.

"On the one hand they are saying 'no', on the other hand they are saying 'yes' if iwi want it! They need to make their minds up what they stand for," said Nanaia Mahuta."

1:50pm: According to a Labour press release, "John Key's claim today that Kiwis support asset sales is laughable, Labour campaign spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

"I don't know who John Key is talking to. New Zealanders are overwhelmingly opposed to assets sales, as polls consistently show."

1:48pm: James Murray tweets again
@3NewsEditor
"Key says his position over Winston is a principled one and he's not nervous about him," #votenz

1:43pm: According to 3News, Winston Peters has challenged John Key to a public debate. This comes after comments from John Key regarding the instabillity of government should NZ First get into power.

Mr Peters said NZ First was going to hold a rally in Auckland's Aotea Square on Wednesday.

"We cordially invite John Key to attend so we can have a public debate, out there with the people," he said. "He could put his views forward, explain his worries, and we'll respond."

1:42pm: Tweet from James Murray
@3NewsEditor
"Key reiterates that a vote for Winston Peters is a vote for a Phil Goff led govt." #votenz

1:35pm: A new website has been launched by Massey University students called On the Fence to help people choose which candidate to vote for. It's a fun way to figure out which policies you support.

1:33pm: The full National education policy is now available on their site.

1:30pm: Newstalk ZB Felix Marwick tweets while out with Labour.
@felixmarwick
"Goff says Labour could return to 2009 idea of reducing dividend demand on power SOEs to reduce power prices," #decision2011

1:26pm: Tweets from 3news editor James Murray
@3NewsEditor
"Key is describing left wing parties as big spending and volatile #votenz including labour and greens."

1:19pm: The Electoral Commission is banning all election coverage for election day on Nov 26.

"News stories posted on websites before election day can remain, as long as the website is not advertised on election day. Comment functions should be disabled on all websites, including social media sites, until after 7pm on election day to avoid readers posting statements that could influence voters."

Listener live blogger Toby Manhire wonders how they plan on shutting down social media on the day.

"Consider this. If some enthusiastic young person, on November 26, posts on her Twitter account just before lunchtime: "Come on Rodney Hide! Rodders is wise and lovely just like Gandalf!"

Harmless enough? Well, the law as it stands seems clearly to proscribe any polling day blog, or tweet, or public Facebook posting, that could affect the way another person reading it votes. If that's true, that heartwarming tweet would - surely - constitute an offence."

1:09pm: National have released their education policy , which includes maintaining 20 hours free childcare, bringing in mobile ECE in rural areas and linking 5% tertiary funding to performance.

1:06pm: Tweet from 3news Editor James Murray.
@3NewsEditor
"National ECE policy say they will retain 20 hours free," #voteNZ.

1:00pm: Newstalk ZB's Felix Marwick tweets
@felixmarwick
"Phil Goff pushing anti asset sales message in Penrose," #decision2011. With pic.

12:30pm: Winston Peters has said in a speech to Westfield Mall in Chartwell, Hamilton today.

"What National fears - what they can't bear the thought of - is not being able to do as they like for three years. It's time there was some Opposition in parliament.

"Don't forget - John Key has said he won't work with New Zealand First."

12:20pm: Radio NZ reports the police have delayed enforcing search warrants at four major media agencies, including Radio NZ, to search for information reagarding the "tea tapes". The search will be on hold until the court rules on whether the conversation was private or public.

12:17pm: NZ Herald tweets
@nzherald
Some help for @GarethMP during his live chat," #VoteNZ. With pic.

12:09pm: NZ Herald reporter Amy Rosenfeld completed a survey in Epsom over the weekend to see which candidate locals will vote for and Paul Goldsmith is currently leading the charge.

The survey of 180 Epsom voters showed 32 per cent said they would be voting for Goldsmith, with Act candidate John Banks trailing at 25 per cent and Labour's David Parker nearly out of sight on just 6 per cent.

12:06pm: Pacific Media Watch reports that Prime Minister John Key addressed Pacific issues on Tagata Pasifika last night, saying the New Zealand government was prioritising early childhood education and encouraging small businesses to take advantage of its probationary employment period policy.

12:03pm: TVNZ has a live chat going with Green co-leader Metiria Turei where she will answer all your questions.

12:00pm: Phil Goff tweets from the campaign trail in Auckland.
@phil_goff
"Save Southdown Power Station from being put on the block by National! Only Labour will stop asset sales," #ownourfuture. With pic.

It's 11:59am and the top stories of the day so far are:

-National leader John Key believes that most Kiwis support asset sales.
- Labour is making asset sales the bioggest part of their campaign this week.
- Winston Peters accused John Key of scaremongering in regards to comments made about Peter's potential return to parliament.
- John Key said any government with Winston Peters in it will be unstable and therefore dangerous.

11:55am: In a press release from the National party: "A new shared facility between Police and Child, Youth and Family in Whakatane will ensure that child victims in the area receive the best care and protection, Police Minister Judith Collins said."

11:54am: The Dominion Post reports "Concern about the close race in Ohariu appears to have prompted National to target voters with letters from Prime Minister John Key asking for their party vote."

11:50am: Listener live blogger Toby Manhire has given a summary of what the bloggers are saying today.

11:48am: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng is out with Labour today. He tweets
@dchengnzh
"Goff + sign" #votenz. With pic.

11:46am: Mana is calling for amnesty for Pacific Island overstayers.

Mana candidate for Mangere, James Papali'i, said "Pacific Islander overstayers are being thrown in prison, treated like criminals and the entire family, even children born here are deported with no dignity.

"Not surprisingly the treatment they are receiving is leaving many severely traumatised."

11:43am: Don Brash is confident his leadership is not under threat, according to Radio NZ news.

11:39am: NZ Herald live chat with Greens MP Gareth Hughes is on now and he is ready to answer your questions.

11:32am: NZ Herald columnist John Armstrong writes the possibility of Winston Peters growing popularity is worrying John Key.

"It seems the Prime Minister is no longer quite as confident as he was that Peters will not be on his way back to Parliament next Saturday night with five or six New Zealand First colleagues in tow."

11:26am: 3News has posted a list of highlights from the campaign, calling it the Election Timeline.

11:21am: 3News posted a video talking about "Voting on Face Value". Paula Penfold reports about the difference in "brand" between Phil Goff and John Key.

11:18am: 3News reports the National party plan to reveal it's education plan at lunchtime today. This comes after claims the education system is underfunded and may be subject to privatisation.

11:12am: NZ Herald deputy political editor Claire Trevett writes that distractions aside, the leaders would be better off dealing with issues that matter.

"Both got diverted on to less rewarding but more entertaining matters of the Epsom tea tapes and potential return of Winston Peters. It wasn't turning out well for either of them, so late last week, John Key and Goff called for a return to talking about the "issues that matter".

11:09am: Labour have released their Christchurch recovery plan. It includes resolving the insurance standoff and, as a last resort, being prepared to intervene in the insurance market on a short-term basis to get the market functioning again.

For the full policy see here.

11:06am: Green co-leader Metiria Turei tweets
@metiria
"So what we will do with your vote after the election? Use it to get more good Green change whoever governs." Watch.

11:02am: The documentary "Inside Child Poverty" will be on TV3 Tuesday night at 7:30pm. The New Zealand Alliance party has said that this documentary is an "indictment on the failed right wing policies of the last generation."

10:54am: NZ Herald reports Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has clarified the party's position on asset sales after concerns it was being interpreted as showing support for the proposal provided iwi were given preferential rights to buy shares.

"I have said publicly that if Government was ever to be at the point of considering asset sales then I would expect the first conversation about the process to be with iwi, as Treaty partner."

"We are... placed with the responsibility of advancing the best position for our constituency ... that means we need to listen and respond to the proposals out constituents put forward to Parliament.''

He said the Maori party's position has always been against asset sales.

10:49am: Hone Harawira has written a statement about how the Labour leader Phil Goff "goffed it again" on Q + A on Sunday.

Phil Goff was caught not knowing the details of his party's capital gains tax policy.

Harawira said Mana is doing Labour's job and writes "No wonder John Key is doing so well - Phil keeps Goffin' his lines. Hardly the qualifications for somebody wanting to run the country"

10:45am: Scoop columnist Gordon Campbell writes about what could be the "Greens end game".

"So... what the Greens can say in the lead-up to Saturday is that they will be the standard bearer - the only feasible standard bearer - of centre left values and priorities in the likely event of a centre right victory."

10:42am: Mana candidates Annette Sykes and Sue Bradford are to speak at a street forum organised by beneficiary advocacy groups in Rotorua tomorrow.

The forum takes place at 12 midday Tuesday 22 November, outside the Work & Income offices in Pukuatua St, Rotorua.

10:40am: The Green party has outlined their plans for New Zealand's rivers. 3News reporter Kim Choe writes "The party wants to: Set standards for clean water, Introduce charges for commercial irrigation and use that money to support water clean-up initiatives."

10:37am: Labour leader Phil Goff has said Labour is confident of forming a stable government, according to Radio NZ news.

This comes after comments from John Key who said Labour would have to form relationships with the Green, Mana and New Zealand First parties - all of whom he calls volatile.

10:31am: NZ Herald reporter Paul Harper writes "Prime Minister John Key says New Zealanders support National's plan for partial asset sales."

10:27am: According to Radio NZ, Dr Pita Sharples has said "If Don Brash does make it back into Parliament, then he must be sitting opposite him to hold him to account to rebut any of Dr Brashes ideas that are anti good race relations."

10:13am: NZ Herald columnist Tapu Misa writes that differing values of each party appear to be widening the chasm. She writes that a vast majority of chief executives "like the Nats' asset sales and welfare reforms."

"The country's spiritual leaders take a different view. For them, the big issues are inequality, welfare and children in poverty. Their prescription for a fairer New Zealand differs so radically from the chief executives that they could be talking about another country."

10:08am: Phil Goff tweets from the campaign trail
@phil_goff
"It's the final week. The Labour team have been working incredibly hard across the country to get our message out there." #ownourfuture

10:00am: The Keep MMP campaign is showing support of up to 50% in three polls so far, according to Newstalk ZB. However the Vote for Change campaign is gaining traction and this week is set to be a busy one for campaigning all around.

Results will be released December 10.

9:54am: The Otago Daily Times reports the Green Party and Labour leader Phil Goff have done themselves no favours in Mt Maunganui.

Taking the Pulse reporters wrote "Local retailers complained to Taking the Pulse on Saturday that both the Greens and Mr Goff keep drawing attention to the stricken Rena which hit the Astrolabe Reef on October 5, spilling oil."

The bad publicity surrounding the event it seen to be driving away tourists from the area.

9:46am: The National Business Review follows up Winston Peters' claim on TV3's The Nation that he can support the government and be in the opposition at the same time.

"That's very clear, we're going into opposition, because we want to hold the next government - whoever it is on those critical issues - accountable to the people of New Zealand."

But Winston Peters said he might support the government and vote for its budget.

9:43am: Mana's John Minto writes "Mana is endorsing the call by Christchurch residents for an independent Advocacy Commission for those facing obdurate officialdom and the corporate insurance industry in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes."

9:41am: National's Tau Henare tweets
@tauhenare West Side Tory
"In 5 days time you can either vote NATIONAL and be a hero or vote for hang on, 1,2,3,4,5 party coalition & be part of the problem." #votenz

9:37am: John Minto of the Mana party has said the current government aims to standardise teacher evaluation of students against national standards and effectively eliminate a teacher's professional judgement of their students.

Minto said "Instead of developing this framework behind closed doors the Minister of Education should come clean and explain to parents her government's intentions before the election."

9:33am: Labour's Grant Robertson has released a statement saying Labour will act to address the diseases of poverty. He writes that Labour intends to establish a Minister for Children should they get elected, to focus on issues of child poverty.

9:24am: NZ Herald columnist and Kiwiblog blogger David Farrar has criticised the latest election campaign brochures of Labour, calling them "vile".

The brochure shows a young baby girl and the words "Under National, you won't be around to celebrate her 1st birthday."

Farrar has called it shock tactics from Labour, making it look "like National's policy is to kill off parents".

9:20am: Labour leader Phil Goff tweets
@phil_goff
"Only a Labour Government can save our assets from being flogged off to foreign owners." #ownourfuture

9:18am: According to Newstalk ZB, John Key has said there will be no preferential treatment for Maori when National starts the partial sell-off of the four state-owned energy companies.

9:11am: Labour's Annette King tweets
@annetterongotai
"If you can't make it to the ballot box on Saturday, check this link for where you can Advance Vote in Rongotai."

9:01am: The Mana Party released its foreign policy yesterday just outside SAS headquarters in Papakura. NZ Herald's Audrey Young reports that John Minto has said Mana wants to recall all New Zealand troops from Afghanistan before Christmas.

8:57am: Derek Cheng reports that Herald on Sunday staff will co-operate fully with police when they show up to search the newsroom in their investigation into the teapot tapes.

8:51am: Yvonne Tahana of the NZ Herald writes about the last in the Herald's electorate series, exploring Tamaki Makaurau, the Auckland Maori seat, and the unique challenges candidates face.

At present, Labour's Shane Jones is polling at 23%, trailing the Maori Party's Dr Pita Sharples who sits at 54% in that electorate.

8:48am: Maori party leader Dr Pita Sharples is pushing for a preferential deal for Maori over partial asset sales, according to Radio NZ news. He says he could support the policy if Maori get priority access to shares.

8:45am: On Newstalk ZB, Winston Peters has urged John Key not to panic if NZ First gets into parliament. This is in response to Key's latest comments referring to any government with Peters as unstable.

8:41am: NZ Herald's Audrey Young writes that Phil Goff and John Key will meet tonight in a TV3 debate, the first head-to-head clash since the Press debate in the campaign's second week.

8:37am: NZ Herald political reporter Derek Cheng writes New Zealand First is basing its election platform on policies to treble export-led industries. A 20% tax on new market exports is part of this policy and it is something that will decrease over time to 12%.

8:35am: NZ Herald's Audrey Young writes the Mana Party wants New Zealand's South Pacific neighbours to have the same access and working rights here as Australians.

This is one of three main parts of the foreign affairs policy released yesterday by third-placed list candidate John Minto.

8:31am: Chris Slane has put together another cartoon for Toby Manhire's Listener live blog, this time about Winston Peters and asset sales.

8:24am: The "worm" returns tonight for the final leaders debate between Phil Goff and John Key. Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald writes:

"The debate will use the Roy Morgan Reactor, more commonly known as "the worm'', to measure the response of a studio audience of undecided voters selected for a balance of gender and age."

8:21am: Phil Goff has accused John Key as "scaremongering" in regards to Winston Peters potential return to parliament. Newstalk ZB's Felix Marwick writes "If he makes the five percent threshold, Winston Peters says he will sit on the opposition benches and keep the incoming government honest."

8:18am: Newstalk ZB's Felix Marwick reports that Labour seems to expect voters to have a change of heart and come back to them in the last week of the campaign.

The party's been polling below 30 percent support for the past week across multiple opinion polls.

8:13am: John Key and National are open to dealing with the Green party should they make it to parliament, writes NZ Herald deputy political editor Claire Trevett.

8:10am: NZ Herald political editor Audrey Young reports that Labour will focus all its campaigning on one thing this week - stopping asset sales.

Phil Goff said "Labour's position is crystal clear. New Zealand is not for sale."

8:07am: NZ Herald has posted the live stream of John Key talking to Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning.

8:06am: John Key has told TVNZ if Winston Peters comes to power it will be an "unstable" government.

8:03am: Winston Peters has appeared on Breakfast to discuss holding the balance of power if NZ First make their 5%.

It's 8:00am and we are back with live updates of the election coverage throughout the day.

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