Labour is taking nothing for granted in this Saturday's Mt Albert byelection, despite a poll giving candidate David Shearer a 38-point lead over National's Melissa Lee.

Mr Shearer and leader Phil Goff campaigned at the Avondale shops yesterday, commiserating with retailers whose takings have taken a knock in the recession.

The fact that it happened to be in David Cunliffe's New Lynn electorate did not deter them. Most of the shoppers came from the Mt Albert electorate, said Mr Shearer.

In and out of the emporiums, the cut-price shoe store, the tinned fish and beef shop, the dairies and the dress shops, Mr Goff said he was keeping his fingers crossed for them that things would come right soon.

"Lower-income people didn't get much in the April tax cuts," Mr Goff told Deodra Sajy in her clothing store.

Mrs Sajy asked Mr Shearer for help in getting residency for her brother in India. He was a qualified refrigeration engineer and there was a skills shortage of his qualification.

Mr Goff sympathised but actually, he said, there was not a skills shortage. He knew that because his own son was a refrigeration engineer and the firm that he worked for was laying off staff.

But he suggested she get in touch with Mr Shearer after the byelection.

Mrs Sajy said Mr Shearer had no need to worry about the election. "All this line [of shops] is Labour."