13 Sep 2008

Minor parties keen to start election campaigns

7:19 am on 13 September 2008

Minor political parties have welcomed the announcement of the election date, saying they are keen to get out on the campaign trail.

Labour leader Helen Clark announced on Friday that the election will be held on 8 November.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party's election campaign will focus on the social and economic outcomes for the country.

Mr Peters says he expected the election to be held sometime in November, and the battle lines have now been drawn. He says he is not worried about how the controversy over donations to his party and his legal fund will affect New Zealand First's campaign.

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons hopes there are no dirty tricks campaigns against the party as there have been in the past, and that it will be a good clean campaign fought on the issues.

Ms Fitzsimons says the Greens will indicate before the election which party they would be prepared to work with as part of a coalition Government.

ACT leader Rodney Hide says the election cannot come quickly enough, as it is time for a change of government.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says the date provides the opportunity for a new mandate, and a fresh start.

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton says the election is a choice between two directions for New Zealand. He says voters need to choose between going back to the failed policies of the past with National, or moving to a stronger New Zealand that cares for all citizens with Labour and the Progressives.

Mr Anderton says the Progressive Party will campaign for the retention of Kiwibank as a locally-owned bank and on policies that care for New Zealanders and enhance the economy

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia welcomed 8 November as the day to go to the polls, saying it is of particular significance to Maoridom. She says it will be 90 years ago that day, that Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana had a vision of what was to become the Ratana Church.

The Maori Party expects to do better in this election than it did in 2005, when it secured four seats.