While it is all about Bill English for National's campaign, Labour is steering clear of a strictly presidential campaign by featuring both leader Andrew Little and deputy Jacinda Ardern in its election material.

National Party Election 2017 poster featuring National Party leader Bill English. Photo / Supplied
National Party Election 2017 poster featuring National Party leader Bill English. Photo / Supplied

Labour's newly released hoardings appear to be aimed at harnessing Ardern's popularity and high-recognition factor as Little struggles to make headway in the polls - Ardern is nipping at his heels and has even overtaken him in some polls.

Labour also believes Ardern complements little - balancing out his more serious, older image.

There will be little to no advertising featuring Little alone - Ardern will also feature in the television ads with him.


Ardern replaced Annette King as deputy in March and Little said it was because of her ability to reach a group of people the party needed to connect with better - young and urban.

Labour's slogan of choice is 'a fresh approach', which Labour claims highlights the difference between itself and the 'stale' third-term National Party - although it could also be confused for an ad for a greengrocer.

Labour's electorate hoardings will not feature Little at all - they sport a photo of the candidate with a two-ticks message for the candidate and the Labour Party.

It is a contrast to National's campaign which tends to focus heavily on the leader.

Under John Key's leadership, National campaigns were centred on Key, considered the party's greatest asset. That went to the extent of supporters wearing t-shirts with "I am a Key Person" on them and electorate candidates hoardings had both Key and the candidate on them.

That will be pegged back a tad under English - but all signs point to a campaign again focused on the leader and pumping English's record as a stable, reliable manager of the books and the country.

Its first campaign slogan is 'Delivering for New Zealanders" and the first tranche of campaign hoardings feature that and a big photo of a smiling English. The electorate candidate hoardings also feature English and the candidate.

It has also produced a campaign video which focuses mainly on English doing wholesome activities with wholesome 'real' New Zealanders. That video ends with a shot of English striding across a bridge, looking like a Malboro Man who's lost his cigarette.

The Budget advertising material also featured English doing wholesome activities with wholesome 'real' New Zealanders - like playing back yard cricket, that centrepiece of the Budget.

Its campaign video soundtrack is an original country and western style track, again designed to sound wholesome and safe.

As under Key, the electorate candidate hoardings are expected to feature English as well as the candidate.

Labour released the hoardings this mornings - and simultaneously sent out a 'sponsor a hoarding' email to its database seeking donations to pay for the hoardings - from $8.50 for a small hoarding to $54 for two hoardings.

It was not the only one putting out the begging bowl - National's General Secretary Greg Hamilton also send out an email seeking $3 donations.

The email also continued the scare campaign about the prospect of a Labour-led Government: "we are up against a divided and disconnected group of opposition parties that think it's their turn to take control of the Government's finances ....You have a choice between a party that will continue to create new jobs and opportunities or a miserable group who find growth frightening and want to shut down opportunity."

In 2014, Labour's billboards and hoardings were a mix of those featuring then leader David Cunliffe and the full caucus. Its slogan was 'Vote Positive.'

In 2011 then leader Phil Goff was not pictured on any billboards. Instead the party campaigned on policies such as taking GST off fruit and vegetables - a policy Little has scrapped, although it would go well with the 'fresh' slogan.