Labour's campaign in the last five days before the election will focus on a single policy - opposition to National's promised sale of up to 49 per cent of five state-owned assets.

The sales were the primary focus of a speech by Labour leader Phil Goff at a rally in central Auckland yesterday of 800 supporters.

But Mr Goff's plans for a strong run in the final week are being dogged by persistent questions about whether he is on top of the detail of his economic policy.

Mr Goff again made asset sales personal as well as political yesterday, recounting how his wife's father had returned from the war to build the dams on the Waikato River that National planned to sell.


Last week, he told the Herald his father-in-law would be turning in his grave.

"Labour's position is crystal clear," he said yesterday. "New Zealand is not for sale."

Only a vote for Labour could save Air New Zealand, the wind farms at Makara, the hydro dams on the Waikato and Waitaki rivers, the coalmines on the West Coast and Kiwibank.

National has not actually put Kiwibank on the "for sale" list. In fact, it has hinted that some of the estimated $5 billion to $7 billion proceeds from asset sales could be used to expand Kiwibank.

But National announced plans last January to float up to 49 per cent of Meridian, Mighty River Power, Genesis and Solid Energy and to sell some of its 73 per cent holding in Air New Zealand.

Since then, most reputable opinion polls have shown that the public opposes the policy, although that has not had a serious impact on National's popularity.

Among some highly risky policies promoted by Labour this election - including raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2033, and introducing a capital gains tax - it has campaigned hardest on keeping state-owned assets.

Mr Goff, who was part of previous Labour Governments that sold assets, says he has learned from his mistakes.


His backdrop at the rally was a clock, counting down to election day in days, hours, minutes and seconds.

"We have to use every minute between now and then to save our precious public assets from the auction block," he said.

Two words - asset sales - had defined the election campaign, Mr Goff said.

Selling assets did nothing to prepare for the future, he said.

"It simply doesn't work. It's just dumb to sell them. Only a Labour government can save our assets from being flogged off to foreign owners. We have just six days to get that message out."

The party's final television broadcast, to be screened this Friday, was played before Mr Goff's speech. It draws heavily on the achievements of the last Labour government.


Mr Goff was questioned by reporters after his speech about not knowing a couple of details during TV appearances - the date when the capital gains tax would start making money and how much it would make in its first year.

Mr Goff said he should not be expected to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of figures but to know the principles of policy.