By Ana Kailis
AUCKLAND — An October 29 Herald opinion poll shows support for the Alliance (composed of Greens, Democrats, NewLabour, Mana Motuhake and Liberals) growing. Support for the Alliance has risen from 12% a week ago to 17%. Pockets of support in areas of Auckland and the South Island are significantly higher, provoking a nervous reaction from right-wing commentators and Labour.
Several "safe" Labour seats have been reclassified as marginal. Labour leader Mike Moore has led a scathing attack on the Alliance and its leader Jim Anderton, charging that the Alliance is attempting to ensure the re-election of the Nationals by "splitting the anti- government vote".
But as November 6 approaches, National and Labour are having problems distinguishing their policies. While Labour has promised to repeal the Employment Contracts Act, some within the party have made it known that the "best pieces" of the legislation will be kept. This is an attempt to woo both the Council of Trade Unions and the Business Roundtable.
While Labour refuses to rule out the privatisation of NZPost and Electricorp (State Electricity Commission), National has promised that it won't sell them — although it emerges that the more profitable sectors of Electricorp (Transpower) will be privatised. On health and education, both National and Labour have shown a firm commitment to user-pays philosophy.
Though all polls show National with the greater support, there is a higher proportion of people enrolled to vote than in 1990, and a full 40% of voters remain undecided. For many people this is the first election that there has been a reason to vote: for electoral reform and the Alliance.