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Greens Make Their Choice, Nats Don't Care

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Greens have made their decision. It wasn't surprising but now it's certain -- they will support Labour after the election.

On current polling the Greens would come back with eight seats, which would be very valuable to Labour if it is in a contest with National to stitch together a majority.

The Greens compared the policies of Labour and National, and came down on Labour's side.

They're far from happy about Labour's environmental track record but consider National's is even worse.

"They're just too far away from the direction that the Greens believe we have to go for the sake of our children and the planet," said co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

She also made it clear Labour can't take the Greens for granted and there would have to be policy concessions before a coalition or support arrangement was finalised.

Labour leader Helen Clark said there was no problem with having the Greens on board.

"The issue is for each of use to maximise our vote and see how well we can do," she said.

"After elections we look at what the various possible components of governments can be -- I've put together three and each has been different."

National's leader, John Key, said he had known the Greens didn't want a National government. A Labour/Greens/New Zealand First government would be a no-growth government, he said.

Miss Clark said that was nonsense because Labour had already set out a much bigger and more ambitious growth programme than National.

In other campaign developments today:

* National promised a modest boost in police numbers, adding 220 and putting more resources into south Auckland. Party leader John Key said a central part of National's big push on crime in south Auckland would mean 300 new frontline officers there by the end of 2010.

Police Minister Annette King said there would have to be raids on other police districts to achieve that.

* Reacting to comments by PriceWaterhouseCoopers' chairman John Shewan that future governments would be forced to raise GST to 15 percent, National and Labour said it wouldn't happen on their watch.

"Our aim as a political party is to reduce taxes, not raise them," Mr Key said.

Finance minister Michael Cullen said people should stop panicking. "I'm saying absolutely no."

* Miss Clark said National's lead over Labour was less than TV One's weekend poll showed. The poll showed a gap of 14 percentage points, Miss Clark said she thought it was closer to six points.

"This is a very, very close election campaign," she said.

Miss Clark said leadership was becoming the big issue of the campaign because of the international financial crisis and its impact on New Zealand.

"I'm absolutely confident that at times like this people focus on who has the team, the experience, the track record and judgment, and we're getting a lot of feedback that this is not the time to change horses in mid-stream," she said.

* National promised more respite care beds for aged family members and said it would give rest homes a funding boost.

Health spokesman Tony Ryall said he would "reprioritise" $5 million for respite care beds and there would be $18 million more for rest homes.

* National said motorists could face tolls of $3 on new roads if it wins the election. Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson said short roads would have a toll of $1 or $2, while long hauls could be $3. He got into trouble in August for saying drivers would have to pay $5.

* A TV One Colmar Brunton poll that questioned 1003 voters found 48 percent thought Mr Key was best placed to lead New Zealand through tough economic times compared with 41 percent who chose Miss Clark.

She said the poll was "more skewed than many".

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