Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is bloody minded, while National leader Bill English is a disciple of "relentless dissatisfaction" as a key performance indicator for the role of PM.

Fronting up to a panel journalists for the NZ Herald's Job Interview they were grilled on why they wanted the job of Prime Minister and what they could offer.

In a way, the challenge for both Ardern and English was to prove they had each other's strengths.

Ardern has stood accused of lacking breadth and depth on the economy. English's millstone is the perception he is boring.

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The difference is that one of those things can be taught, the other cannot - and in that respect English was the underdog.

The interrogators were NZME journalists Audrey Young, Heather du Plessis-Allan, Liam Dann and Toby Manhire.

Both were given a hard ride - English on National's record in Government and Ardern on what Labour might do in Government, and whether the voters should know about it before it was done.

Ardern's most challenging moments came in questioning over her intentions for income tax and Capital Gains Tax - Ardern has left open the option of introducing those in her first term rather than campaigning on them in a future election before doing so.

Ardern took the only path available of sticking to her guns on the issue, saying it was the job of a Government to make hard decisions that might not be popular but would make a difference.

Her "bloody minded" declaration came when she was asked if Labour would seriously pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership for the sake of one Labour Party policy on foreign buyers.

"I'm happy to be accused of being bloody-minded when it comes to improving our export and trade conditions. I'm also bloody-minded when it comes to protecting New Zealanders' ability to get into a home. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. I'm broadly bloody-minded."

Watch: Jacinda Ardern's full PM Job Interview

Jacinda Ardern's full uncut job interview with the NZ Herald this morning.

English said he had not had a job interview since the 1980s, and at the start it showed. Asked why he thought he would be best for the job, he banged on about his team - using the word three times in one sentence - instead of himself.

English improved in the end by playing to his strengths.

Clearly wary of the accusation National is out of touch and arrogant as a third-term Government, English ensured he spoke about the lives of everyday voters.

"I think it's important to have relentless dissatisfaction as a leader, that there's always things we can do better and you've got to focus on what those are. Because the public don't work in political cycles.

"They've just started their business, they've just had their baby, they've just started a new job. It's always new for the public."

He even eventually got around to trying to counter Labour's "Let's Do This" line by pointing out things National had actually done - reminding the audience of things like the lift in benefits - "no Labour Government did that. We did." It was an attempt to remind voters why they had given their votes to National for three terms.

English's weakest moment was, predictably, on housing as he tried to deny it had been National's greatest failing and insisted affordability was just on the horizon. He also had a tendency to lapse into his Finance Minister persona for extended periods, which did not help with the whole boring thing.

Watch: Bill English's full PM Job Interview

Bill English's full uncut job interview with the NZ Herald this morning.

For both Ardern and English, personal attacks were off the menu.

When English was asked if his monologue on "relentless dissatisfaction" was a dig at Ardern's '"relentless positivity", he simply said he did believe in being positive. He also believes in hope and aspiration. "I think they are powerful motivators and I think in New Zealand our politics work pretty well like that."

Ardern used the word "instinctive" about her own style of leadership. While English had pushed the "team", Ardern was all about stamping her own mark on the leadership, saying it had been her own "captain's call" to change Labour's stance on campaigning on any future Capital Gains Tax and income tax increases stance.

Perhaps the most notable feature of Ardern's interview was her omission to mention Morrinsville. Her upbringing in the small town has so far been called on in almost every press event and speech as evidence of her understanding of everything from the pressures on orchardist and farmers' pockets to the effects of marijuana on youth.

In the end she did not falter in answering. But nor did English.

The verdict: a line call.

The National leader and Prime Minister, Bill English and with the panel of Herald experts, Audrey Young, Liam Dann, Heather du Plessis-Allan and Toby Manhire. Photo / Michael Craig
The National leader and Prime Minister, Bill English and with the panel of Herald experts, Audrey Young, Liam Dann, Heather du Plessis-Allan and Toby Manhire. Photo / Michael Craig
Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern with the Herald expert panel: Liam Dann, Audrey Young, Heather Du Plessis-Allan and Toby Manhire. Photo / Doug Sherring
Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern with the Herald expert panel: Liam Dann, Audrey Young, Heather Du Plessis-Allan and Toby Manhire. Photo / Doug Sherring