Labour promises deposit guarantee and economic stimulus package; National demands change at campaign launch; Act and United Future launch campaigns; property prices down; beneficiaries get nothing from tax cuts; and more
- The government is to guarantee all bank deposits for two years, taking on a liability worth up to $150 billion in a move intended to reassure investors in the midst of the international financial crisis. Speaking at the Labour campaign launch yesterday, Helen Clark also outlined an economic stimulus plan bringing forward infrastructure and building projects that would be part of a mini-Budget come December, should Labour win the election. The Herald reports that New Zealand's banks, building societies, credit unions, and finance companies that take deposits would all be covered by the guarantee, which the government will implement under the Public Finance Act, so that no legislation will be required. The Dominion Post says the plan has been coordinated with Australia and that it "flat-footed" John Key, who spent much of his campaign launch speech criticising Labour's failure to act on the crisis. John Armstrong in the Herald says, Wham, Labour stole the day.
- At Labour's launch, emceed by Oscar Kightley and featuring Elemeno P, Clark announced a year-long retraining allowance for people who have been in the workforce for 10 years and want to train in a new area. At National's launch, after bands played "disco and soul songs from the 1970s", John Key talked about the need for "change" and argued that New Zealand needs his economic experience in troubled times.
- Act and United future also launched their campaigns yesterday. Act leader Rodney Hide criticised John Key for mimicking Labour's policies and said Act could work in a coalition with the Maori Party, but Sir Roger Douglas was the star, promising significant tax cuts. United Future's Peter Dunne promised to keep either major party honest. He said his was the only truly family-centred party, with policies to cut taxes, extend paid parental leave, and offer free tertiary education.
- The Otago Daily Times confirms that David Benson-Pope will not stand as an independent in Dunedin South. His decision ends months of speculation.
- Property prices nationwide are down 5.8 percent, the DomPost reports. A hint of optimism in the market last month has evaporated, Quotable Value says. Meanwhile, the Herald quotes one real estate company saying that 15 farm sales fell over last week because buyers could not secure credit.
- The Press reports that even though recent tax cuts have lowered tax on benefits, WINZ is not handing on the windfall, so beneficiaries are getting nothing extra in their weekly payments.
- A rash of TV channels aimed at Pacific viewers in New Zealand and in the islands were announced at the weekend. An internet-based channel showing short Pasifika films will launch in November, while TVNZ and TV3 both intend to start channels within a year.