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The end is nigh

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said today that with the election campaign poised to begin, three events in the past 24 hours emphasise the failure of nine years of National government and the need for a new Labour government.

"A damning report on poverty has been released, doctors have raised serious concerns about National's ACC restructuring, and the latest growth figures show that the New Zealand economy went backwards in the June quarter. After nine years in government, National cannot hide from these failures.

"National's harsh economic and social policies are behind the rise in numbers of families living in poverty, its micro-economic reforms have benefited big business at the expense of the rest of New Zealand, and its hands-off style of economic management has seen New Zealand left behind by the rest of the developed world.

"It is time for a change of government. Labour has the vision, experience and the policies to lift this country out of its social and economic torpor. The ideologically-driven withering of the state, and the disastrous effect this has had on the provision of our public services, will not be allowed to continue.

"In government, we will rebuild the economy through smart, hands-on management. The mad experiments in areas like ACC, roading, education and health will come to a halt. And Labour will confront poverty by introducing income-related state house rents and by restoring the level of superannuation.

"These are the sorts of crucial issues that New Zealand want to see discussed over the coming weeks of the election campaign. I challenge Mrs Shipley to front up - something she has repeatedly avoided over the past two years - and debate these issues with me throughout the campaign," Helen Clark said.

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