Election 2020: Collins, Ardern and political party leaders end campaigns


New Zealand|Politics

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is on an Auckland walkabout blitz this morning and has filled her campaign diary with mall visits and tours of local businesses. Video / Peter Meecham

After a false start and weeks of intense campaigning, New Zealand political parties have come to the end of the Election 2020 trail.

Today was the final push for politicians on all sides.

New Zealand’s laws mean there can be no political advertising or media on polling day itself.

That means MPs, and MP hopefuls, were all out in force today.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was sticking to a tried and tested method of campaigning – the walkabout.

These wanders through a busy street or mall have become a mainstay of Labour’s campaign – Ardern has done a dozen or so already.

She did three today while in Auckland – the first in Lynn Mall.

Within seconds of getting out of her van, supporters started singing and coming forward for selfies and photos, of which she took hundreds throughout the day.

Ardern was more or less only greeted by supporters, apart from one woman who loudly yelled “traitor”.

But her heckles were drowned out by the Labour supporters, who began loudly singing.

Meanwhile, National leader Judith Collins was on the other side of town speaking to reporters in Mt Roskill.

Jacinda Ardern signs an autograph during a walkabout at New Lynn mall. Photo / Jason Walls
Jacinda Ardern signs an autograph during a walkabout at New Lynn mall. Photo / Jason Walls

That’s the suburb the light rail was meant to run through – but that project was pushed out after objections by Labour’s coalition partners, NZ First.

Collins was at pains to point out that this was a Labour Party failure, given light rail was something the party campaigned on in 2017.

“We have been paying an extra 10 cents, plus GST, per litre of fuel, in the last three years to pay for this light rail.”

Collins also took aim at comments Ardern made during the final leaders’ debate last night.

She said she wasn’t surprised that Ardern had said that she would resign if Labour ended up in Opposition – and predicted Ardern could further follow in Helen Clark’s footsteps.

“I think she’d be off to the UN, actually.”

Speaking to reporters after a walkabout in Manurewa’s Southmall, Ardern rejected this.

“You will have heard me answer, and dismiss statements like that for a long time.”

She said this was part of the “mischief-making that you hear in the final weeks of a campaign”.

National leader Judith Collins is in the studio with Newstalk ZB’s Kerre McIvor

As was the case at Lynn Mall earlier in the day, Ardern was barely able to move against the sea of selfie-seeking supporters.

At one point a man yelled: “Welcome to God’s country, Aunty. Rewa!” to which the rest of the crowd yelled out “Rewa!” in response.

Moments later, a supporter presented Ardern with a small pink T-shirt for her daughter, Neve.

“Straight out of Rewa,” the shirt read. It was a play on the popular NWA song, Straight out of Compton.

While the major parties were out attempting to woo last-minute undecided voters, Act had a different strategy – going directly after National’s support.

“Act is putting out a final call to voters of all stripes,” it said in a press release.

“To people who perhaps have never thought of voting Act, or those who have always ‘bled blue’, I say this: Lend us your vote this time and at the end of three years, I think you’ll want us to keep it.”

According to last night’s 1News/ Colmar Brunton poll, Act are at 8 per cent – the same level of support as the Greens.

National leader Judith Collins on the last day of the campaign trail today. Photo / Aaron Dahmen
National leader Judith Collins on the last day of the campaign trail today. Photo / Aaron Dahmen

But Act’s 8 per cent and National’s 31 per cent is nowhere near enough to win the election.

Despite this, Collins remains confident.

Her final message to undecided voters today was: “If they want a National Government, their only party vote should be for National.

“That is absolutely crucial. No messing around – just party vote National.”

Ardern finished her final walkabout of the day in Onehunga where she received a number of gifts, including a large canvas painting, flowers and chocolate.

Her day finished with supporters in Kingsland.

Although both leaders have been at opposite ends of the spectrum on many issues throughout this campaign, they both have similar plans tomorrow morning – sleeping in.

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