As a huge campaign effort nears its end Jacinda Ardern underlined the importance of young voters to Labour by visiting another university - and says as someone who doesn't drink coffee she is "running on hugs".

"There is a sense of urgency now. My message to New Zealanders would be that we cannot wait another three years for the change we need," Ardern told media in Christchurch.

She was feeling surprisingly good inside the final 48 hours of a gruelling campaign.
"Exceptionally well I think for someone that doesn't drink coffee. I feel great. I've enjoyed every moment of it."

Jacinda Ardern was mobbed by fans during a walkabout at the University of Canterbury. Photo / Nick Jones
Jacinda Ardern was mobbed by fans during a walkabout at the University of Canterbury. Photo / Nick Jones

In Christchurch Ardern toured the Meadow mushrooms factory part owned by former National MP Philip Burdon, before attracting a crowd of hundreds at the University of Canterbury.

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While a lone National supporter was confronted by other attendees, Ardern was mobbed by selfie-seekers, with still more students filling balconies to get a glimpse of the Labour leader.

That scene has been a common one throughout the campaign, but Ardern acknowledged enrolments needed to lift.

"My message to young voters is to vote early, vote today, vote tomorrow."

In the final leaders debate Ardern clashed with English over National's claims that people will pay more income tax under Labour. National argues that is the case because its own tax cuts are legislated to take effect from April 1 next year.

Ardern said while talking to workers at the mushroom factory she had been asked if she was increasing income tax.

Jacinda Ardern visited Meadows Mushrooms and picked up some produce for her partner Clarke Gayford. Photo / Nick Jones
Jacinda Ardern visited Meadows Mushrooms and picked up some produce for her partner Clarke Gayford. Photo / Nick Jones

"It does a disservice to voters to tell them something that is patently untrue. The only place for blame to go is on the party that has spun the lie."

Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford accompanied her in Christchurch, and with no campaigning allowed during Saturday's vote she said she planned to finish painting the fence of the Mt Albert home she shares with Gayford.

"I figure there are going to be a lot of people standing outside it so it needs to be finished."

After flying back to Wellington, Ardern visited Labour's Wellington Central phone bank where other volunteers included former leader Andrew Little and Finance spokesman Grant Robertson. Using a campaign volunteer's pink-cased old Nokia phone, Ardern introduced herself to several voters on the Gisborne list.

"Susan, my name is Jacinda Ardern I'm the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. How are you? Great, great."

Finally at Wainuiomata Rugby Club Ardern pledged up to $20 million to rebuild Wainuiomata High School - saying Labour's Hutt South candidate Ginny Anderson was right to call the National Government's commitment of $12m "little more than a facelift".

Ardern told the large crowd it was technically her last speech of the campaign, and played tribute to Gayford who "brought in a fish, gutted it, filleted it and was cooking it fresh for me after that debate last night".

She said the race was close.

"There was another poll out tonight. But I can tell you what our internal polling is telling us - there is just a few points in it. And when there's just a few points in it, that's when Labour is at its best. Because we run ground campaigns."

Ardern said one thing that had surprised her was the number of hugs she received during the campaign.

"I don't even drink coffee. I have been running on hugs this election."