A low income audience in the Mt Albert by-election campaign was infuriated when National candidate Melissa Lee today told them she was paid only $2 an hour.

Ms Lee is well behind in the polls after a series of gaffes and ill-judged comments virtually eliminated any chance she had of taking the Labour-held seat.

Appearing in a candidate's debate in front of members of the Unite union, Ms Lee was asked how she would survive on the minimum wage of $12.50 an hour.

"I think I am currently on $2 an hour," Ms Lee replied.

Ms Lee appeared to be joking about MPs' long hours, but it did not amuse the audience of low wage earners.

Ms Lee is paid $131,000 a year and is entitled to $14,860 in expense allowances, as well as $24,000 in accommodation benefits and free travel.

A worker on the minimum wage working 40 hours a week earns $26,000 a year and, if they have children, are entitled to Working for Families assistance.

Ms Lee did recover with an explanation of National's policy on trying to raise all wage levels.

By the time she got to explaining that she had also once struggled as a solo mother with little money and a mother to support, any sympathy the audience may have felt was long gone.

The audience was never likely to vote National, but the incident was the latest in a campaign which will finally end for Ms Lee tomorrow.

Polling in the Auckland electorate has Labour's David Shearer so far ahead it would take a miracle for Ms Lee to win the seat when locals cast their votes on Saturday.

A TV3 poll put Mr Shearer on 61.7 per cent support with Ms Lee backed by only 20.6 per cent of voters.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman was well back in third place on 13 per cent, while ACT's John Boscawen barely registered on 3.6 per cent.

At the beginning of this week a TV One poll had Mr Shearer on 59 per cent, Ms Lee 21 per cent, Dr Norman 15 per cent and Mr Boscawen 3 per cent.

Labour supporters fear the polls may induce apathy amongst their voters and create a low turnout.

Mr Shearer today urged voters to get out and support Labour saying it was "about turning the corner" after last year's election defeat.

Dr Norman repeatedly asked those who were thinking about voting Labour to send a message to the larger party they were not happy with their performance when in government.

- NZPA