The countdown to the election campaign begins this Sunday with the kickoff of Labour's run for the Treasury benches - and the playing field's become much more level than it was just a month ago.

Labour's poll-driven decision to dump Andrew Little, thanks to the benefit fraud admission by Metiria Turei and the rocket launch for the Greens at the time, has paid off.

The Jacinderella effect for a party that seemed to be going nowhere is just the adrenalin shot they needed with last night's poll rating putting Labour at 37 per cent, now just seven points behind National.

The next five weeks will tell us whether the woman who has never been in a government, let alone led one, is up to the task. But then again the same could have been said of John Key, who had three years less political experience than Ardern when he became prime minister. And look where it got him.


The unravelling of the opposition over the past month seems not to have only paid off for Labour but has played right into the hands of that wily old silver fox Winston Peters, who'll huff and bluff his way to September the 23 before blowing one of their houses down.

He'll keep us guessing, which is what he loves to do, but if Labour's current polling translates into votes, Ardern would be a more attractive proposition for him.

John Key's declaration that he couldn't work with Peters in the lead-up to the 2008 election, which saw New Zealand First on the outside of Parliament after it cooling their heels for three years, isn't forgotten by the political granddad. And he sees Bill English tarred with the Key brush.

He's more likely to wrest more out of Ardern than he could out of English - a party after nine years in opposition tends to be a little more generous.

And besides Ardern's lack of government experience can be more than made up for by the man who was cutting his teeth in Parliament before she was even born.

Labour will be more attractive to Peters because it'll now be much easier for it to put the Greens out to pasture, if the electorate doesn't do it for them, which is where Peters would insist they should be.

The poverty strategy by Metiria Turei will come home to roost for the Green MPs themselves if the latest poll translates into votes. Polling below the five per cent threshold, it's now become a struggle for them to even continue putting the Bellamy's tucker on their table.