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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 14:29 GMT
Shipley's late NZ election appeal
Helen Clark Helen Clark's oppositional Labour Party is leading the polls

As New Zealand prepares to go to the polls for Saturday's general elections, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley appealed to voters to trust her centre-right economic formula.

Her governing National Party has been trailing the Labour Party under Helen Clark in the opinion polls for months.

Don't let's go back to yesterday
Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister
At a rally in the South Island town of Christchurch, the premier promised her government would deliver 4% economic growth in the next two years and create 115,000 new jobs over the next three years.

A vote for Labour would destroy New Zealand's economy, Ms Shipley said.

Ther is a groundswell for change
Helen Clark, Labour Party leader
"Frankly, when it comes to business, all that lot on the left are good for is running a closed shop," she said in a reference to Labour's close ties with trade unions.

"What will their contribution to our economic growth be?" she asked.

"More union power, more industrial unrest, more union and Labour knows best.

"Don't let's go back to yesterday. New Zealanders have grown up and moved on."

Two woman contest

Saturday's contest is the first election in an industrialised nation to feature two women vying for the premiership.

Jenny Shipley Jenny Shipley is widely expected to lose on Saturday
Labour leader Helen Clark spent her final day on the campaign trail in Auckland, addressing a final rally at Mount Albert.

"I believe there is a groundswell for change in the country, but it's not in the bag yet," she told supporters.

She also urged the crowd not to vote for coalition partners. "If you want a Labour government you have to vote for it," she said.

After almost a decade out of power, Labour is expected to win on Saturday. However, the polls do not predict an overall majority in New Zealand's 120-seat parliament.

Correspondents say it is likely to have to form a coalition with the left-wing Alliance party and the Greens.

The final two polls gave a coalition of Labour, Alliance and the Greens a majority of 2 and 7 seats respectively.

However, details of the polls, including the number of people polled and margins of error, were not available.

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See also:
24 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
NZ minister fired in Maori row
10 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Row over compulsory New Zealand Aids tests
25 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
New Zealand's poll: Change at the top?

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