National news brief, Monday, October 6

Nats tough on repeat offenders; Brain Drain Kiwis heading home; eligible voters have not registered; minor parties have launched their campaigns, but does anyone care?; Wellington keeps WOW Awards; Key attracts the ladies

The National party is set to launch its law and order strategy today. The Dominion Post reports that under a National-led government a life sentence would mean just that and the most violent offenders would not get parole after their second violent offence resulting in a prison sentence of five years or more. The Herald adds that National would need a new $314 million prison to hold these most violent offenders and an extra $43 million a year to manage them.

The so-called Brain Drain Kiwis are considering a return home in the wake of the world financial crisis. Those working in the finance and banking sectors in Britain have been contacting recruiters in New Zealand for the past few months, reports the Herald. Some have lost their jobs and others are concerned about their job future.

More than 225,000 eligible voters are still not enrolled, according to the Herald. Auckland Central is the worst represented electorate with 12,000 eligible voters still not signed up. Voters have until Wednesday to get their enrollment forms into the post. Those who miss the deadline can still vote but they will have to cast a special declaration vote.

Three of the minor parties launched their election campaigns at the weekend, reports the Otago Daily Times. The Maori Party, Greens and New Zealand First are all making a bid for inclusion in the next government. But the Dominion Post reports that the minor parties are struggling to get traction in the latest One News-Colmar Brunton poll. Only the Greens are polling above 5 percent. New Zealand First could miss out on a place in Parliament altogether while United Future, ACT, Progressives and Maori Party will likely win constituency seats.

Wellington has secured the World of WearableArts Awards for the next four years, which will bring in an estimated $40 million, reports the Press. Since WOW left Nelson in 2005 the audience has nearly doubled to 35,000.

John Key is attracting more women to the National Party than Don Brash did, but still lags behind Labour leader Helen Clark. An analysis of DigiPoll data also found that New Zealand First had lost female supporters, according to the Herald.