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Key Backs National's Financial Response

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

National Party leader John Key acknowledged today the Government had seized the high ground in the election campaign with its announcement of moves to deal with the effects of the international financial crisis.

"They get to lead the news agenda, but I think New Zealanders know where National is coming from," he said on NewstalkZB.

"They know we've shown leadership in this area, and just sometimes incumbency gives you an advantage."

Mr Key said he wasn't going to try to undermine the New Zealand banking system to score political points in an election campaign.

Political leaders will hit the road today after campaign launches yesterday marked the four-week run to the November 8 election.

Mr Key and Labour leader Helen Clark told their supporters in Auckland they had the answers to guide New Zealand through the current economic turmoil.

Miss Clark used the occasion to announce the Government would be offering to guarantee $150 billion in retail bank loans.

The move was to match similar schemes in other countries struggling to restore confidence in the international finance system which is suffering from a credit freeze.

Miss Clark, like Mr Key, said she had the plan to kick-start the shrinking local economy and handle the international turmoil.

Mr Key told supporters National was the party to lead New Zealand out of the gloom.

He accused Labour of squandering nine years of economic good times and leaving behind a decade of government budget deficits.

Mr Key released an 11-point pledge card, while Miss Clark focused on six critical drivers of economic growth and bringing forward significant infrastructure spending.

He said that aside from last week's tax cuts package, the economy needed additional stimulus in the downturn and several other National policies would help boost growth.

They included reforming the Resource Management Act, cutting other red tape, boosting infrastructure investment, restraining government spending and raising education standards.

Earlier in the day, ACT launched its campaign with leader Rodney Hide saying only his party could put some backbone into a National-led government.

Across town at the United Future launch, party leader Peter Dunne said a vote for his party would ensure a sensible approach to government, moderating the excesses of the two major parties.

Mr Key was due to campaign in Gisborne today, while Miss Clark was heading to Dunedin.

Tuesday night will feature the TVNZ head-to-head debate between the two leaders.

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