On the back of poor poll results, Simon Bridges picked his spot in Hawke's Bay to take the edge off.
The National Party leader, accompanied by Tukituki National MP Lawrence Yule, and National's associate finance and revenue spokesman, Andrew Bayly, visited the region yesterday.
In a well-attended meeting at the Havelock North Function Centre, Bridges praised the region's "fastest-growing and strongest-growing regional economy".
However, he said the economy is "definitely weakening".
"The reason why, with great commodity prices, with tourism still going reasonably strong, and New Zealand not doing as well, you have to look fairly and squarely at the government."
The latest 1NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, released on Monday, showed increased support for Labour, rising three points (48 per cent), while National dropped two, to 40 per cent.
However, Bridges said the poll reflected a point in time, noting it was an "understandable rallying around the Government in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks".
"I am incredibly confident though that as "New Zealanders will focus on day-to-day concerns around an economy weakening, capital gains tax, cost of living rising, and a Budget that won't necessarily deliver all that the Government has promised, the polls will move and National will not only stay in the 40s but we will grow our support stronger," Bridges said.
Bridges' preferred Prime Minister rating dropped down to just 5 per cent, the lowest during his time as National Party leader.
But he was quick to put the focus on the party vote, adding it is the one that "matters".
"A lot of people have said, and they are right in a sense, being leader of the Opposition is the hardest job in politics. But under my leadership, with a great team, our party vote is very strong and that's what's required to win the elections."