Goodfellow: Don't take support for granted
The National Party must not take its supporters for granted if it's to win a fourth term, party president Peter Goodfellow says.
The party kicked off its 80th annual conference, which has a full cast of cabinet ministers and more than 500 delegates, in Christchurch today.
It's a mid-term conference with next year's election on the horizon.
"Next year we have an opportunity unprecedented under MMP - to win a fourth consecutive term in office," Mr Goodfellow told supporters.
"However, our greatest risk is that we take for granted the enormous support New Zealanders have shown the National-led Government over the last eight years.
"We have simply worked too long and too hard to be defeated by complacency now."
Mr Goodfellow encouraged electorates to contribute to a National Foundation fund for future campaigns, saying this was vital as political campaigns were becoming larger, more professional and more expensive.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister John Key said he knows how hard winning a fourth term is going to be.
"Even though our numbers are pretty close to 50 percent, the reality is that the coalition of the unwilling is quite a big number," he said.
"Labour, the Greens and NZ First could potentially tip over a National-led Government - and we know that with every election it gets harder to win."
Mr Key will review the work the Government has done over the past 12 months, discuss its plans for the next 12 and release a new policy when he gives his main address tomorrow.
Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will be on stage for a question and answer session on the economy.
The housing shortage is one of the most serious issues facing the Government and delegates will have their say about that.
Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith will be in the hotseat, alongside Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.
Gerry Brownlee, the minister responsible for the Christchurch rebuild, will speak to the conference and take questions from delegates.
Police Minister Judith Collins will handle law and order issues.
There will be an 80th birthday party for National, with everyone there knowing the 81st is going to be crunch time.