Farmers to protest in Ardern's hometown, English hits Hawke's Bay to start last week of nailbiting election race

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Waikato farmers are set to march and rally in Jacinda Ardern's hometown of Morrinsville today, saying they're upset at the way they're being treated by politicians during the election campaign.

Campaign scare tactics, tax and water were all to the fore as the leaders of the four biggest parties fronted.
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The Labour leader in Waikato yesterday denied she has created a rural-urban divide, saying "it has been stoked, unfortunately, by the National Party".

She stressed that the vast majority of farms are not affected by Labour's plan to charge a royalty on the use of water for irrigation.

"There are 12,000 farms in New Zealand, only 2000 will be affected by what we've been proposing," she said.

The Labour leader's campaigning came ahead of a major farmers protest in Morrinsville on Monday.
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The protest comes at the start of the last week of campaigning before Saturday's election, with the polls showing it's a very tight race.

1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann says the protest is one of a couple of things to watch for during the week.

"This Morrinsville farmers protest could be interesting. There's clearly a lot of animosity out there in the rural sector," Dann said.

But he believes the Leaders Debate on TVNZ1 on Wednesday night is going to be crucial.

"We know there are a lot of undecided voters in this campaign still and that the polls are all over the place. People are uncertain," he said.

"So that last week Leaders Debate on Wednesday night suddenly gets a lot more important than perhaps in previous campaigns. So I think that's going to be crucial."

Meanwhile National leader Bill English is campaigning in Hawke's Bay today after yesterday doing a round of Auckland malls and markets aiming to attract the votes of families.

The National leader did a round of Auckland malls and markets after appearing on Q+A.
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Among his promises was more help for first home buyers and an increase in paid parental leave. 

"Because of this package, next year the number of children below the poverty line will drop by 30 per cent," Mr English said.

Ms Ardern insisted "70 per cent of families with children are better off under Labour's plan than national's one". 

She campaigns in Whanganui today.

The Leaders Debate screens live on TVNZ1 at 7pm on Wednesday and will also be livestreamed here on 1 NEWS NOW and on Facebook.

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