Goff performance most polished yet

Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Labour leader Phil Goff will enter the final week of the campaign this morning with his morale high after a successful rally in Auckland yesterday.

Labour organisers bussed in supporters from afar, some coming from as far as Mana and Wellington Central in the south.

Mr Goff was greeted with a standing ovation when he finally made it to the stage after a young Polynesian drumming group and Maori kapa haka group had warmed up the crowd.

The Labour leader gave his most polished performance of the campaign yet, albeit in the Auckland Girls' Grammar auditorium packed with fervent Labour supporters dressed in red and waving banners and placards.

In a 30-minute speech, Mr Goff rallied the troops, asking the more than 700 present to help in his fight to protect the country's state-owned assets.

"I will work harder this week than I ever have. I will not rest because this is our last chance to save our assets.

"I'll fight until midnight Friday because there is no going back.

"I can't do it alone. I need your support. I need you to join me in our fight to protect our assets," he said to deafening clapping and stamping.

While mentioning other Labour policies such as introducing a capital gains tax and lifting the age of retirement, Mr Goff concentrated on National's plan to partially sell down electricity generators Meridian Energy, Genesis, Mighty River Power, coal producer Solid Energy and a further sell-down of national carrier Air New Zealand, of which the Government now owns about 80%.

He urged supporters to put in one last "big push" to save them.

Even wife Mary was brought into the speech, in a manner similar to Prime Minister John Key mentioning he was brought up in a state house by a solo mother.

"Many of you know my wife Mary, well it's personal for her too because her dad came back from the war and helped to build the dams on the Waikato River, the very dams that John Key wants to sell to foreign banks".

"That's what I am fighting for. Those were handed on to us and I want to hand them on to our children. Labour's position is crystal clear. New Zealand is not for sale."

Mr Goff also received sustained applause when he told supporters Labour would make the first $5000 everyone earned tax-free and that Labour would take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables.

But supporters went wild when he told them that Labour would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in its first term of government.

Although the speech was given to the party faithful, Mr Goff and his party finally had something to cheer about in a campaign which has seen Labour languish in the polls, well behind National which seems unstoppable.

The first test of Mr Goff's newly-found confidence will be put to the test tonight when he faces off against Mr Key in the TV3 Leaders' Debate at 7pm.

- dene.mackenzie@odt.co.nz



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