National's "invisible candidate" Paul Goldsmith may take out the Epsom electorate, as National and Labour voters unite against Act.
In a nzherald.co.nz street survey of 180 Epsom voters, 32 per cent said they would be voting for Goldsmith, with Act candidate John Banks trailing at 25 per cent and Labour's David Parker nearly out of sight on just 6 per cent.
With John Key encouraging Epsom to vote for Act candidate John Banks in order to ensure National has a coalition partner, Goldsmith has been keeping a low profile in the electorate.
Only two survey participants had actually spotted Goldsmith in Epsom. There were reports of sightings in Newmarket, but it was unclear if he was campaigning or just out for a spot of shopping.
"I think he was up the road just before," said a 45-year-old doctor stopped in the street in Newmarket.
"He's been a bit elusive though, my kids have been asking why he doesn't have any billboards up."
Last week Goldsmith was photographed removing his own billboards from the Epsom electorate after they were put up without authorisation.
Staying out of the limelight doesn't appear to have stopped him gaining support however, with National's endorsement of Act failing to sway many voters.
"If anything the whole debacle has lowered my opinion of National," said a 70-year-old Goldsmith supporter.
"I don't like Act and I don't like being told who to vote for.
"It's made me totally disenfranchised as a voter," said Susan, 61. "I'll vote for Goldsmith because we want to get Act out."
In a rare point of agreement between Labour and National voters, Labour supporters spoken to said they would send their vote Goldsmith's way to keep Act out of Parliament.
"We definitely don't want John Banks," said Labour supporter Brian Murray, 63.
"And unfortunately voting for Labour in Epsom is just like throwing a vote away.
"Anything to give [National] one less crony in Parliament," said Tove Parstington, 25, of her vote for Goldsmith.
While true-yellow Act supporters made up a large chunk of Banks' voters, National voters giving support for Banks often did so with reluctance.
"I'll be voting for Banks but I'll also be voting to change MMP," said a 53-year-old health worker. "I'd rather not have Act in there at all."
The street survey showed 31 per cent of voters were still undecided.
Many of these respondents admitted to being National supporters, torn between voting for Banks or Goldsmith.
With just five days left until election day, the Epsom candidacy is far from in the bag.
With the High Court tomorrow set to make a judgement on the legality of the "tea tape", there are fears the furore over their contents may influence the many undecided Epsom voters.
Interest in the tea tape was limited from the Epsom voters surveyed, however, and none indicated that it would influence their votes.
"The media have taken a little grain of sand and created a Mt Everest," said Paul, a Remuera financier. "They seem to have their own agenda and are not at all in touch with the public."
The tape was repeatedly referred to as "trivial" and the media reaction compared to the behaviour of toddlers or children.
"Only the picky ones will be influenced [by the tape], and like donkeys they will be led," said Lorraine Crowther, 70.
Some felt John Key's reaction to the tape showed he had something to hide, and felt he needed to be honest with the public.
"I definitely trust him less. As the leader of New Zealand he needs to be held responsible for anything he says," said George Xhao, 50.
Jo Hill, 39, said her opinion of John Key had dropped because of the tape debacle, but she would continue to vote National as she didn't see a better alternative.
Most, however, simply saw the tape as a distraction from the "real issues" of the election and thought the affair would be best left alone.
"It's just small-minded to have such a focus on this, no-one's interested," said a 50-year-old beauty therapist.
"John Key is a businessman, he's like Teflon, a silly thing like this is not going to change people's votes."
Overwhelmingly Epsom voters are tiring of all the tea talk.
"You get a bit sick of being in the middle of it," said Noel Mundt, 78.
"Sometimes laughing at it is all you can do."