Prime Minister Helen Clark last night outlined further policies Labour has suspended that it had intended releasing in the election campaign.
As well as holding back on an extension of paid parental leave, Labour has shelved a primary healthcare initiative and setting a goal for a higher minimum wage.
Labour announced last week it would link the minimum wage to movements in inflation or the average wage, and did not commit itself to the unions' call for it to rise from $12 to $15 over three years.
After splurging last week on three initiatives that would cost $618 million over four years, including moves towards a universal student allowance, Helen Clark said on Sunday that there would be no more significant spending promises from Labour for the rest of the campaign. "We have judged it not prudent at this present time to make those sort of commitments."
The party's "total focus" would be on an economic stimulus package for growth that would be unveiled in December if it were Government after the November 8 election.
Although Labour has put an end to big-budget items, it is still trickling out more modest policies.
Health Minister David Cunliffe yesterday announced an immediate $13 million injection "to jump-start the reform of the aged care sector".
Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson added a $7.6 million boost to the training opportunities programme funding "in light of the changing economic circumstances".
National Party leader John Key said he did not believe Labour would stop big spending promises.
"Labour are in denial, writing cheques they can't afford to cash."
He said yesterday that he had also dropped a policy - plans for a 33 per cent rebate rate on health insurance for the elderly.
Helen Clark and Mr Key both ruled out an increase in GST to help fund the 10 years of deficits projected in the pre-election fiscal update.
PricewaterhouseCoopers chairman John Shewan told the Herald that while he supported the personal tax cuts packages promised by both parties, whichever became the Government faced the real prospect of having to raise taxes within five years - he suggested increasing GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent and the top personal tax rate from 39c to 45c was not inconceivable.
Mr Key said National was into cutting taxes, not raising them. "The fastest way to eliminate those deficits and get New Zealand into surplus is to get New Zealand growing again."
He said a Labour, Greens and New Zealand First Government would be "a very, very low-growth Government - basically a no-growth Government".
He also questioned whether Helen Clark knew much about the security of funding issues facing the banks in New Zealand at present - the issue on which he called for a bipartisan approach on Sunday.
"Every day that goes by we get nearer to Christmas and are nearer to a situation where the banks have funding issues. They can't run to thewire."
Helen Clark said it appeared that bipartisanship had been for Sunday afternoon only and that "normal transmission has resumed".
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: CLAIRE TREVETT, NZPA