Key Points:

Labour's pledges in the first week of the official election campaign were worth more than eight times what National promised in the same period.

The Herald's Porkometer measures the pre-election spending promises of both major parties but does not take into account cuts also pledged - so National is ahead of Labour at this stage.

Since last Sunday Labour has set a cracking pace of spending announcements. Its Porkometer total has risen by $618 million to $18.75 billion.

Prime Minister Helen Clark outlined a $65 million push over four years to increase the number of modern apprenticeships.

That was followed by a pledge to remove the parental income test for student allowances at a total cost of $420 million over the four-year phase-in period.

Labour would also allow beneficiaries to earn more before their benefits reduce, at a total cost of $133 million over four years.

It has also come up with ways to offer new policies without spending much at all. One example is where Crown land would be opened up for people to build houses on, making home ownership more affordable.

The big feature of Labour's campaign launch was a deposit guarantee scheme which carries an enormous potential price tag if the country's financial institutions collapsed - and National supports the move.

The massive deposit scheme has not been added into the Porkometer figures.

National's figure has risen by $75.5 million as it unveils a number of new policies.

It has decided to allocate $47 million a year more to schools to address literacy and numeracy concerns.

National has also launched a maternity policy that features an additional $1.5 million a year for support for at-risk mothers, $11 million a year for longer stays in birthing facilities for mothers, $3 million a year to fund Plunket Line and $13 million a year for more visits to new mothers in the first nine weeks of a baby's life.

National's biggest policy announcement was to make the New Zealand Superannuation Fund invest 40 per cent of its money locally - a major shift that does not come at a cost to the Government's books.

Balancing out National's overall spending pledges is its plan to cut money from other areas, totalling as much as $6 billion.

If the cuts were taken into account, Labour would be ahead of National by $3.65 billion, because it has not pledged to make cuts yet.