National has boosted its Porkometer tally by almost $600 million in little more than a week with plans to spend up on schools, hospices and cycleways.

The Porkometer is the Herald's running total of the cost of the two major parties' vote-grabbing policies over the next four years.

Labour - which intends raising $4.85 billion more in revenue over the period - has taken an early lead with big-ticket items including its $1.41 billion Best Start child welfare programme and its $1.53 billion Kiwibuild home building scheme, taking its total so far to $6.7 billion. But National, which has yet to officially launch its election campaign, has made up some ground, with a $350 million Auckland school building plan, an $80 million hospices boost and a $100 million cycleways package among its most recent announcements.

Those, and a $50 million extension of its Youth Service benefit control plan, lift its total by over half a billion to $1.89 billion.

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The Porkometer does not represent the difference between the two parties' overall fiscal plans.