As Bill English cradled a kitten called Sweet Chilli today he was asked a question that divides much of the country - is he a cat or dog person?

"I have been a dog man but I am going through a conversion here," English said, smartly avoiding a straight answer.

With Labour leader Jacinda Ardern in Dunedin meeting flood victims and attracting a crowd of about 700 at the University of Otago, the most photographed stop in English's day was at the Kitten Inn.

Set up at founder Susan McNair's Lower Hutt house, the charity takes in pregnant cats, and kittens, de-sexes them and looks after them until they can be rehomed (the record is 72 adoptions in one weekend).


As cats sought pats from media and volunteers - one woman in a T-shirt that read "Crazy cat lady" - English was given a birds-and-the-bees lesson after he asked McNair why her charity was busier in summer.

After a slight pause, McNair said cats were "more productive" in the warmer months. "Nicely put," said National MP Simon Bridges, who was standing behind English.

The National leader's daily media stand-up was held on the lawn of the Kitten Inn. Cat poo at the foot of the microphone stand was scooped up just before he arrived and took questions including on North Korea and the Saudi sheep controversy.

On reports North Korea had fired a ballistic missile over Japan, English said New Zealand supported "quite tough" sanctions put on the country by the UN.

"Provocative behaviour from North Korea is taking us all into a zone where mistakes could be made that could rapidly escalate into conflict. We certainly hope that doesn't happen ... it is getting more provocative."

With one week to go until the election English said National wouldn't make major changes but would focus on "sharpening up the choice that voters have", including highlighting Labour's tax plans.

"[The choice is] between building on the strength of the New Zealand economy and what is now shaping up as quite a different way of managing the economy from Labour ... they haven't made a case for large change."

Ardern said there would be no change of tack from her party. Labour would spend the final week of campaigning focusing on housing, health and environmental issues.


"After so much drift, we just have so much risk still in the system if we do not change government," Ardern said. "There is a real risk sticking with the status quo. That will be our message."

Ardern spoke to Dunedin residents who were affected by floods in 2015. She said central government needed to work more closely with local government to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise.

"This is not an issue that local government can deal with alone ... we've got a responsibility, a duty of care to people in these communities to make sure that we're doing out bit."

English started his day at the Spruce Goose cafe next to Wellington Airport's runways and facing Lyall Bay.

Leaving the cafe, he was asked by a National voter about the most recent 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, which put Labour ahead just over a week out from Election Day.

English was dismissive of the result, telling the man it was completely wrong.


After announcing National would spend $72 million to fast track the Melling interchange on State Highway 2, English went to Abode Cafe in Lower Hutt.

His campaigning is different to Ardern's - while he gets a good reception and is popular with almost everyone he meets, there are rarely any crowds like those that surrounded the Labour leader in Dunedin.

English likes to introduce himself to everyone in a room, and will take some time talking to each, covering often complex subject matters. He spent more than five minutes with two women at the Abode cafe, before sitting down with Josephine van Baarle, and her 15-month-old son Willem.

She told him she and her teacher husband were still undecided voters. She had recently used an online calculator set-up by Labour and worked out her family would be $10,000 better off a year under Labour's families package.

English said National's tax relief package comes in from April 1.

"And as the economy moves along, pretty much as predicted, by 2020 we can have another go. So that is one of the benefits of keeping the momentum."