The Herald reviews the campaign trail thus far.
The Greens. Boiled everything down to three priorities and hammered those relentlessly. Slick adverts drove their message home. Danced the coalition tango with National without (yet) compromising principles. Swift damage control eased embarrassment over the defacing of National hoardings.
Act. Don Brash's failure to resuscitate the party was compounded by John Banks pulling the rug from under his leader less than two weeks before election day.
National. The "no campaign" campaign. Safe, but uninspiring. National seemed to have nothing up its sleeve to pull itself out of the Epsom tea party fiasco.
Labour and NZ First. Labour sought to defy political gravity by pushing a capital gains tax, compulsory super and raising the retirement age. Winston Peters tried to sell life in Opposition as better than life in Government.
Bill English's handshake with Barack Obama at the Apec Summit. Pity for National that it was in Hawaii rather than Hamilton.
John Key almost single-handedly helping NZ First beat the 5% threshold. Have aliens switched the real Key for an imposter?
Best individual performance
Greens co-leader Russel Norman.
Phil Goff. Coming to terms with almost certain defeat liberated him. Campaigned with boundless energy. Was helped by having policy with substance.
The Condi Rice Award for Diplomacy
Winston Peters. Replied to Key's taunts about him wrecking any government dependent on New Zealand First by patiently explaining why the Prime Minister was wrong this time.
Richard Worth Award for Self-Sacrifice
National's Paul 'let the people decide' Goldsmith. Managed to convey the message that National supporters should not give him their electorate vote without actually saying so directly.
Missing in Action
Mana's Hone Harawira. Did well in TVNZ's minor party leaders' debate. Made big speech on Wednesday. Otherwise curiously quiet.
The leaders' debates, particularly the one run by the Christchurch Press. Entertaining and - for once - informative.
Labour's letter to sole parent beneficiaries saying they would miss their child's first birthday party thanks to National; TV3's heavily-biased 'worm'; Sunday newspaper internet polls with self-selecting respondents; Sam Mahon's tasteless painting of a dead John Key.
"Show me the money." - John Key putting Phil Goff on the spot.
"First they came for Tuhoe. Now it is the media," Mana's Annette Sykes on police searches of media organisations in the aftermath of the Epsom tea party.
John Key saying that National's success in cutting crime meant police had spare time to investigate his complaint about secret taping. Or perhaps his comparison with the tape and the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Labour's TV ads. Simple and direct, they made the message stick.
National's TV ads. Uninspiring, bland and instantly forgettable.
Cats that look like David Cunliffe.