20 Sep 2017

A tale of two campaigns: Food banks and corporate offices

6:50 pm on 20 September 2017

It was a tale of two campaigns as the leaders of National and Labour hit the road to campaign ahead of their final debate tonight.

Bill English spent his time at big corporations, while Jacinda Ardern headed to a food bank and attended a union meeting.

Bill English on the campaign trail

Bill English on the campaign trail Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

It was a rocky start for Mr English - a visit to Vodafone's Auckland office went awry when a staffer challenged him over child poverty and the environment.

Mr English interrupted his speech to respond, saying child poverty would drop by 30 percent after their budget changes were introduced in April.

From there, Mr English was off to ASB and law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, before heading down Auckland's waterfront.

The National leader insisted his campaign had been about far more than just bankers and lawyers.

"[I've] visited work places, welfare agencies. It's probably the first time I've been in corporate offices, but there's votes there as well."

While it was banks for National today, it was food banks for Labour.

Jacinda Ardern visits the Mangere Budgeting Service

Jacinda Ardern visits the Mangere Budgeting Service Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

Ms Ardern spent time at Mangere Budgeting and Support Services, helping staff put together food parcels to be distributed to families in need.

Chief executive Darryl Evans told a story of one family of 11 who shared a two-berth caravan - and many others living in garages.

"Building developers in this community are fitting garages with TV aerial and plug sockets and phone jacks. That shouldn't be allowed.

"A garage is for a car. A caravan park is for a caravan and a holiday," he said.

After the visit, Ms Ardern was asked what she thought about the differences between her campaign and Bill English's.

"We are certainly focussed this election on saying that after nine years of drift, this community, and the families that are using this foodbank, deserve better."

Ms Ardern's next stop was at a First Union meeting of about 900 very excited members.

It was clear to the Greens leader James Shaw he was far from the main attraction.

"I'm here as the warm up act, for the next prime minister of New Zealand - Jacinda Ardern."

During his address to the crowd, Mr Shaw made it clear that a change of government was the only way to help people transition into jobs as technology advanced.

"The National Party has no plan. This change is coming and they have no plan and they risk losing tens of thousands of jobs and leaving tens of thousands of people behind."

Green Party leader James Shaw on the campaign trail at First Union headquarters.

Green Party leader James Shaw on the campaign trail at First Union headquarters. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today visited farmers in Ashburton, where he told the crowd his party would not support Labour's policies to impose new taxes on farmers or include agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

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