National leader John Key embarked on his charm offensive from a big blue bus yesterday, only to discover the voters had woken up grumpy.
The first stop of his bus tour for the final two days of the campaign was Paraparaumu.
It was 8am when he arrived and the superannuitants were shopping when he went into Pak'n Save to get lollies for the trip. His first encounter was refreshing - one elderly lady quietly told him "not everybody in our age group likes Winston Peters, you know".
It was a false dawn. The Kapiti Coast houses a significant Peters' support base and Mr Key had spent much of the past week criticising Mr Peters.
One man rattled his trolley and sneered at Mr Key's outstretched hand. "No, I don't want to shake your hand, mate. I'd rather shake hands with [Sir Robert] Muldoon than you." Mr Key observed that might be a bit tricky and moved on.
At Coastlands Mall Alan Parsonage berated him for his oft-cited campaign claim that National had increased the pension for married couples by $166 a fortnight over the past three years. The retired accountant had done his numbers and worked out that $46 of that was from Labour's tax cuts in October 2008 - nothing to do with National.
Mr Key and National MP Hekia Parata tried to calm him down, but he waved his finger in Mr Key's face accusingly and, as he walked away, said the least he could do was offer an apology before the election. He later said he had voted National sometimes in the past "but I wouldn't vote for him. I'll have a good look round. And I hope Winnie comes through".
Mr Key sought refuge back on the bus, which yesterday took him to eight towns over 12 hours from Wellington, up the Kapiti Coast to Palmerston North and through Taranaki, ending in New Plymouth. He was tackled by Labour and Green supporters when he arrived at Wanganui, the Greens calling "how much are you going to sell that for?" when he held a puppy.
In the final two days, all focus is on trying to mop up undecided voters and ensure National's supporters actually vote.
Although there was still significant support for Mr Key on the streets, the mood was different from last week. Voters' minds were now focused on the election and people were more questioning of him and open about their views of him, several yelling from car windows or across the street from towns he visited that he would not have their vote.
Mr Key reiterated his message to National voters not to be complacent, saying his biggest threat was "apathy - people just not turning up thinking National is doing well in the polls".
"I don't think people realise how tight it is. National is polling strongly as we go into election day, but to the left of us there are four parties that could get together. They happen to be high spending parties and could be a volatile mix, but actually they could beat National on the night and everyone needs to understand that," he said.