Australian parties trade blows over spending

2:06 pm on 10 August 2010

Australia's Labor government and the opposition Coalition have pointed to New Zealand as they disagree during their election campaign over how to respond to the global financial crisis.

The government is narrowly ahead of the Liberal-National Coalition in the latest opinion polls ahead of the 21 August election.

Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott has accused the government of wasteful spending and praised the more restrained response of the National-led Government in New Zealand.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Labor's spend-up has saved 200,000 jobs.

She says Australia is the only developed country to avoid recession and its unemployment rate of 5.1% is much lower than New Zealand's 6.8%.