26 Oct 2011

Labour ditches traditional campaign launch

6:14 pm on 26 October 2011

The election campaign has begun in earnest, with the National and Labour parties set to take differing approaches to their official launches.

Traditionally, Labour and National launch their campaigns with a leader's speech in front of hundreds of party members.

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This year, Labour has abandoned the traditional Town Hall rally with a speech from Phil Goff in favour of a focus on new policy.

The party will launch its campaign at Parliament on Thursday when it reveals its savings policy to the media.

Labour's campaign spokesperson Grant Robertson says it is a different approach - but one that the party believes will work.

Mr Robertson says Phil Goff will feature prominently in the campaign, but says Labour's strength is policy - and that is what it wants to emphasise.

A Radio New Zealand political reporter says Labour's television advertising, which starts on Wednesday, has a strong emphasis on policies such as a capital gains tax and opposing asset sales. The party is promising a series of policy announcements through the first three weeks of the campaign.

The National Party is taking the traditional approach. It will launch its campaign in Auckland on Sunday in front of party faithful, with leader John Key taking centre stage.

Mr Key says people do vote on policy - not personality - but his experience as a leader will count.

The general election will be held on 26 November.