Labour leader Phil Goff wasn't about to let a blackout stop him campaigning on a Wellington walkabout today, quipping "wouldn't have happened under a Labour government" when a local RSA was plunged into darkness.

With the lights down at Titahi Bay RSA Mr Goff continued to work the crowd, making bets on the Melbourne Cup, chatting to locals and posing for photos - albeit a little underdressed compared with those that had kitted themselves out for a "fashion in the field" competition.

Glasses were raised and there were cheers when power was restored and televisions sprang back to life half an hour before the live broadcast of the Melbourne Cup. With bets on Precedence and Tullamore, Mr Goff was left disappointed without a win but said his attention was on the ultimate race on November 26.

The RSA was Mr Goff's last stop today on a campaign trip around Lower Hutt and Porirua, during which he visited workers at the Woburn Rail Workshop, students at Whitireia Polytechnic and launched a petition to keep youth wages from being cut.


He received a positive reception around the trail, and got a particularly excited response from a group of outdoor adventure students who wanted their photo taken with "someone famous".

Anastasia Wilson, 18, had a piece of advice for Mr Goff: "You get that minimum wage up and we'll see about the election."

Her classmate Chelsea Churchill, also 18, later said most party policies would not affect her vote, but one that had rankled with her was National's plan to bring back a minimum youth wage. "Why should we be paid less when we do exactly the same thing, it's unfair."

Earlier, at Porirua's Cobham Court, Mr Goff launched the petition to stop young workers' wages from being cut. A group of students waving Labour Party signs listened as Mr Goff spoke about his party's promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and plans to increase youth employment.

Another major focus of today's meet and greet was Labour's campaign against National's plan to partially sell off New Zealand companies, and Mr Goff had the opportunity to plug the "stop asset sales" line at the Lower Hutt railway workshop.

When one worker asked if Labour would keep the workshop going, Mr Goff told him to "change the government and keep KiwiRail safe".