Christchurch, Oct 30 NZPA - Prime Minister Helen Clark is expected to unveil Labour's transitional assistance package in Christchurch this afternoon.
Yesterday she said it would be released in the next couple of days, setting up a head-to-head battle with a similar National package John Key will release tomorrow.
But Miss Clark is now expected to launch a pre-emptive strike this afternoon.
Yesterday Miss Clark moved to match recent promises by Mr Key to help those who could be affected by the economic downturn.
Mr Key has said National's package will involve temporary cash grants for people with significant financial commitments, such as mortgages, who lose their job as a result of the gloomy global economy.
And today Mr Key said the jobless victims of global economic woes would not have to repay some help given to them under National's rescue package.
A National government wanted to give people who lost their jobs an ability to transition from "one job to another, or maybe a higher income to another or maybe get used to the fact that they are going to have less income," he told Radio New Zealand.
"It won't be repaid. You will see tomorrow. It won't be repaid. It is time-limited in nature and that is about all I can say until tomorrow."
He said people who lost their jobs would qualify for the dole but the rescue package would give them a "bridge to re-arrange their lifestyle".
Mr Key said for people who lost their jobs and who had to support their families, the National rescue package would "make some difference".
Mr Key has previously refused to say how the package would be funded only noting it would be "affordable and reasonable".
Miss Clark made a pitch for the Maori vote in Christchurch this morning during a visit to the Waiora Maori Trust.
She repeated her promise to support the entrenchment of the Maori electoral option -- a pledge that could prove crucial in wooing the Maori Party if Labour needs its support to form a government.
Miss Clark also spelt out Labour's strong record for Maori in health, education and social services.
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