Jacinda Ardern's travel plans have been thrown into disarray as bad weather sweeps the South Island.
The Labour leader has been campaigning in Invercargill this morning. She was due to catch an afternoon flight out of the Southland town but it was cancelled.
She is hoping to catch a flight back to the North Island later today.
Drivers are being told to stay off the roads, as heavy snows continues to fall over parts of the central South Island.
Transport authorities issued the advisory just after 11.30am, warning motorists that everyone planning to travel on highways or roads in the area should stay well away unless they are "well prepared" for the current conditions - which includes poor visibility.
In a wide-ranging press conference this morning, Ardern said she wants to make sure Rio Tinto does the "right thing" when it comes to the workers of Southland.
The Government wants to work with local leadership on a new plan for "huge and exciting" opportunities for Southland.
Such options include hydro and data centres, Ardern said. She said there is a "long-term opportunity here".
She said Labour was here to give as much certainty as it could.
Labour is promising to keep Southland's Tiwai Point smelter on life support for another three to five years while the Government works to transition the region's economy.
If re-elected, the party would work to reduce the amount of money the smelter pays for electricity – the major reason why Rio Tinto said it was closing the plant.
But there is a catch.
If the company wants cheaper power prices it needs to maintain current employment at the site, agree to work on remediation and work with the government when it comes to the future use of the plant.
Energy Minister Megan Woods said the plan is to get an agreement with Rio Tinto.
If the smelter did fall over, Aucklanders would pay around $10 million more in power prices a year.
"It's the right thing for New Zealand - we are avoiding the cliff," she said.
This is an exciting opportunity, she added - "it's a once in a generation opportunity".
Ardern said the offer to Rio Tinto was not a subsidy.
"We have said we do not believe we should be giving a direct Government subsidy to Rio Tinto."
Ardern said Rio Tinto would be "mindful" of its reputation. That was in reference to the company meeting the bottom lines.
Woods said she had been talking to the company since February.
Those talks have been "constructive", Woods said.
Meanwhile, Ardern said she wants to give "certainty" in the meantime.
She said the local iwi believed a phased approach was very important. There was a lot of interest in a green product and that green hydrogen should be taken "really seriously".
"The opportunity to export energy here is good."
She denied she was buckling to pressure, as suggested by Greenpeace.
Ardern said her Government would be "very keen" to move quickly on this.
Labour has committed to $5 million to support the just transition's work.
This approach was used in Taranaki - Ardern said that worked well.
Ardern said she "struggled" to see any plans from National's health infrastructure, given the "disgraceful" situation they left the sector in, when they were in government.
"We want to move as soon as we can," she said on Rio Tinto.
She disagreed with comments that the Green Party could get in the way, should they be in government with Labour.
The key points of difference between National and Labour's plans is around the transitions - Woods said that's Labour's plan, which is "fundamentally different" to National's.
Asked why now, she said NZ First "took a different view" to what Labour pitched today.
It emerged in Australian media this morning that a travel bubble between New Zealand and New South Wales could be open within weeks.
It would initially only be one-way with Kiwis heading to Australia, and restricted to those living in the South Island.
In her press conference, Ardern wouldn't put a date on the transtasman bubble as she said she would not like to disappoint.
She said it appeared Australia had changed its plans and would target "hot-spots" so New Zealand needs to look at it closer.
But she would not say when she expected a bubble to come into force - she said the focus was on safety.
"We need to proceed with caution."
But a state-by-state approach needs to be looked at further before anything is put in stone.
Nats' mental health policy
Meanwhile, she said she disagreed with National's plans to provide a Mental Health Minister, as mental health should be at the heart of government's approach on every level.
Asked about last night's poll, Collins said her focus was on the economic rebuild.
Ardern said using dogs to sniff out Covid was something she was watching with interest and New Zealand is "very open" to this.
Training the dogs, however, requires a lot of use of Covid in the community, Ardern said.
That is something New Zealand does not have, she said with a smile.
On shark de-fining, Ardern said the Government would be "very interested" in stopping that.
"It is illegal and wrong and we will pursue you."