She can certainly pull a crowd ...

And close a pharmacy.

Central City Pharmacy closed for an hour yesterday so staff could catch Jacinda Ardern's meet-and-greet at Majestic Square.

"So I'm sorry if you had a prescription to pick up," said the Labour leader who has added a touch of "stardust' to the election.

Advertisement

Pushing 500 people flocked to the square, falling over themselves to grab a selfie or a quick chat with Ms Ardern.

Only pop singers or movie stars - or the return of Michael Laws - could attract that kind of turnout.

For a brief while, the Chronicle was the securest building in Whanganui. A couple of police officers and a member of the Crown protection service were the first visitors to the Chronicle yesterday morning, informing us that Ms Ardern was on her way from the airport.

Road cones were placed to safeguard a parking spot at the front door for a good-sized saloon car. It duly arrived and her personal security officer stooded implacably on the footpath while she dealt with a phone call. The parking meter remained unfed.

The prime minister, yes - but I hadn't realised the leader of the Opposition got the full bodyguard treatment in the closing weeks of an election campaign.

Someone described it as "presidential". That's sort of true ... though, of course, Ms Ardern is completely down to earth and unaffected.

Her ease in any situation and natural rapport with people makes the rest of us look awkward. It is a great political asset. But charisma does not run a country.

Some votes will be swayed by relatability and personal appeal; others by the nitty-gritty of policy. We await next Saturday's verdict but, in the meantime, we got a little taste of the "Jacinda effect".