There's no contest. Week one of the election campaign goes to Labour.
The party's come straight out of the blocks, dominated discussion, and dealt with its Achilles heel: the big T. Tax.
Tax loomed as a problem. There was no doubt, it had to be dealt with at some stage. The genius was that Labour got it over and done with right at the start of the campaign, instead of allowing National to clobber them with it for weeks.
That would've hurt Labour given it's no secret they wanted to increase taxes. That desire was clear from Jacinda Ardern's 2017 mistake when she promised and then un-promised to impose a capital gains tax, from all of Labour's talk of creating a "fairer tax system" and from all the time and money it blew on the Tax Working Group.
After all of that, Labour had to introduce a tax. To do nothing was not an option.
So, to introduce a new threshold of 39 per cent on income over $180,000 was a stroke of brilliance. It could be spun as creating that "fairer tax system" while targeting so few earners it hardly risked driving voters away. No one could complain without sounding like they weren't part of the (sorry in advance) "team of five million". If anything, it sent a signal to voters concerned about Labour's (as yet unfulfilled) promise of "transformation" that really there's nothing to worry about. Labour in 2020 is now conservative with a small c.
That was arguably the hardest part - as far as foresight allows one to say - of Labour's election campaign dealt with.
And the rest of the week was impressive too.
The Matariki policy announcement on Monday was just controversial enough to dominate the headlines, and yet populist enough to appeal to many voters. The small business package on Tuesday addressed real business concerns, especially around the cost banks impose on retailers, and landed favourably. The 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 policy on Thursday provided a great slogan to throw around, while also being so complicated most voters can be forgiven for not looking deeper and finding it's nigh on impossible to achieve.
Meanwhile, the party is simultaneously rolling out good news Covid-related "government" (not "party") announcements that keep reminding voters they are the incumbent, managing the crisis. Finally getting around to granting border exemptions to visa holders stuck overseas is welcome news. The timing of the announcement is suspicious. What's changed between, say, a month ago, and now to justify the change in policy other than, oh I dunno, an election campaign?
But, the most important thing Labour has managed to do is to drown out every other party. It has been impossible for the Green Party, New Zealand First, Act and National to get cut through. Never mind TOP, the Māori Party and all the other wanna-be-in-Parliament parties. National, for example, announced several perfectly reasonable and well-thought-out policies. Trouble for National is there was nothing particularly jazzy or surprising about them.
Actually, let's do a test. Explain one of the policies National announced between Monday and Friday.
Its plan to address the P scourge was drowned out by the Matariki policy announcement. Its National Infrastructure Bank idea was drowned out by the tax announcement.
Expecting Labour to maintain this momentum through to October 17 is probably a bit of an ask. But it's a smart move to hit the campaign hard and early, given it might just lock in the triumph narrative and send National into a self-fulfilling death spiral. If Labour keeps this up, the party is going to be hard to beat.