Key Points:

The major parties have edged up slightly in the Herald's porkometer, which measures the spending promises of Labour and National as they compete to lead the next Government.

While the election has been called for November, the flow of spending announcements is still very light because the parties have not yet kicked off their official campaigns.

That is likely to happen around four weeks before the election.

Still, Labour's total in the porkometer has risen by $39.7 million with an announcement of more money over four years to advance the implementation of the Schools Plus education programme.

Labour has also made other announcements in the past two weeks but they were funded from amounts that had already been made public - such as the $1.5 million of capital funding to boost oral health services in the Tairawhiti region. That was part of the $100 million promise Labour had already made to improve community-based oral health services.

With Labour promoting itself as a conservative manager of the country's purse strings, it could offer little in the way of new spending in the election campaign.

National's porkometer total has risen by $26 million to $5.54 billion.

It has been pushed up by a plan to offer graduate doctors, nurses and midwives a voluntary bonding scheme where part of their student loans were written off in return for them agreeing to work in hard-to-staff communities.

National estimates the scheme will cost $3 million in the first year, $6 million in the second, rising to $9 million in the third year - making a total of $18 million.

Labour released a draft of National's health policy that details further health spending plans worth more than $100 million a year, but National has refused to confirm that as its policy yet. It appears likely National will confirm much of that spending - if not all - in future announcements. It will not be added to the porkometer until it is officially unveiled as policy.

National's other addition comes from its plans in housing, where a boost to the Housing Innovation Fund adds an extra $8 million over what Labour has budgeted. National is yet to announce its big ticket tax-cut plan, but it is edging closer to doing so as the election looms.

PORKOMETER
A running total of the costs of the two main parties' election promises

Labour: $17.93 billion
National: $5.54 billion