The bus driver for New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' visit to Waiheke Island is taking his first tour, and is clearly in a mood to flatter.
He drives past a couple of hoardings and he suggests we only look at the third one with the "very nice gentleman" on it. The nice gentleman is Peters.
Then we drive past National Party and Labour Party hoardings: "Disregard those two as well. Not fit for purpose," the driver says.
Alas, the woman pictured on the white and red billboard is one reason Peters is now in scrabbling to keep his place in Parliament.
Asked if he was concerned elderly voters were deserting him for Labour leader Jacinda Ardern as a reward for keeping them safe over Covid-19, Peters tries to get some credit by pointing out it was the whole Government – including himself – and not just Ardern who managed that response.
He has also been pushing his reminder that NZ First has looked after the seniors for decades – not just six months.
Peters will not tolerate defeatist talk about his chances. Earlier in the day he had laid a $100 bet with radio host Mike Hosking that he would get a "surge".
He was in Waiheke to try to make it happen.
But he will admit this campaign has not been an easy one for him – his usual campaigning style of travelling around retirement villages and holding big public rallies has been cramped by Covid-19.
He says the second wave restrictions had benefited some campaigns, but battered most.
What he means is it had helped Ardern, but not him or National. He does not really care that it didn't help National.
The Super Gold Card is the most common symbol of Peters' care for the seniors.
On the ferry to Waiheke, a few people wave their cards at him and beam.
One even wears it on a lanyard around his neck for easy access.
Peters has his own Super Gold Card, but has not used it on this occasion: The tickets were arranged by his team.
The Waiheke Ferry is one of the most talked about benefits of that card – yet Peters is not going to Waiheke to talk about the card or seniors.
He is going to talk about 1080, and chose Waiheke Island because it is 1080 free.
The trapper he was supposed to meet to make his announcement was stuck in the bush with a colleague and could not make it.
Peters stood outside Te Korowai o Waiheke trust office, which has a trapping scheme and benefited from the Provincial Growth Fund. His only audience was the media.
He restated old policy to get rid of 1080 by developing alternatives, including trapping.
The announcement done, he heads to Oneroa for lunch.
Peters seemed cheerful enough, but without an audience to play to is not the same campaigner.
But he is very recognisable, not least because he is the only person on Waiheke wearing a suit in the middle of a lovely day.
On a walk down the street he has some encouraging encounters.
A man called Torrhi is sitting on a bench with his cane. He has a broad Scottish accent, and gives Peters some encouraging words.
"I hope you make it back, Winston, I really do.
"You've got to get rid of those National people. They're not for human beings. They're for bloody big companies."
Peters introduces his entourage as "some true believers, and some doubting Thomases" – the latter being the media, and Torrhi waves his cane at the microphones.
After Peters goes, Torrhi says he will vote Labour. "But he'll get all the votes he needs without mine. He'll fly in and so will Cindy."
A couple from the Hawkes Bay are clearly not impressed to see Peters, but the man does say, "I don't know what we'll do without him."
He finds a voter at the Oneroa Beach Club where he gets some lunch – fish, no chips.
Belinda and Leonard Harris from New Plymouth are pleased to see him – and Belinda intends to vote for him as her parents had. Leonard is siding with National. "I'm a farmer's son."
Covid-19 is not the only issue for his campaign.
The morning of his Waiheke visit, the details of charges by the Serious Fraud Office against two people in relation to the NZ First Foundation were made public, and it hangs over his day.
He bats off questions about it, saying repeatedly it is all sub judice – even the bits that are not. Later he refers to an "establishment effort to take down one party and one party leader with a tissue of innuendo, and deceit." He won't explain this.
Peters' last encounter is with Mark Hindmarsh, a local brewer, who last met Peters in Brazil back in the mid 2000s. "I see they're writing you off," Hindmarsh says. "I said, 'They don't know you well enough, do they?'"
As we drive out of Oneroa, the bus driver says the name translates as "long sands".
He adds that Little Oneroa therefore means little long sands. "Short sands," Peters suggests.
The sands in the hourglass of his political career might look perilously short, but Peters is not giving up yet.