Thousands of National Party faithful are expected to turn out today at National's official campaign launch - an event the party must hope will provide its own momentum.

National released a new campaign ad over the weekend, showing its team of blue-clad runners striding past the opposition.

But many in National will be looking over their shoulders at Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who has shown no sign of slowing down since thousands of supporters packed the Auckland Town Hall last weekend to launch their campaign.

With only a week until election month, today's campaign opening in West Auckland will give National the chance to launch policy and dominate the headlines - and the party will make sure supporters show up in numbers.


English will travel on the party's campaign bus from central Auckland to Trusts Arena, and give his leader's address in the afternoon.

Ardern will be in Christchurch for the day, where she will unveil Labour's plan to accelerate the rebuild. Her appearance comes after National on Thursday pledged an extra $120 million to build a new stadium.

The Labour leader on Friday followed up National's pledge to build Dunedin a new hospital by promising her party would do it sooner, and yesterday unveiled policy to slash the cost of visiting the GP - just five days after National announced it would extend $18 doctor visits to another 600,000 Kiwis.

Ardern said Labour would reduce the cost of those visits to $8, and also cut the cost of visiting doctors for New Zealanders not on low incomes by about $10, if their GP practice signs up.

She made the announcement at Labour's Pacific campaign launch in Auckland, walking with a leather jacket-clad David Tua through crowds of supporters at Mangere town centre, as conch shells were blown and drums beaten.

A choir sang This Little Light of Mine and prayers were offered, before the pace changed when reggae classic Pass the Dutchie was performed.

National Party campaign chair Steven Joyce criticised the GP policy as another "me too" policy that was essentially copied from National.

"They have literally copied National's announcement from last week targeting low-income New Zealanders and tacked on a $10 universal subsidy over the top," Joyce said.

Prime Minister Bill English spent the day campaigning in the Queenstown area, including a walk-about at the Remarkables Park Town Centre, where he took a turn manning the checkout at the local New World.

At Lake Hayes Pavilion English announced National, if re-elected, will crack down on freedom camping, including by restricting overnight stays for tourists without self-contained vehicles to within 200m of toilet blocks.

The changes would also allow councils and DoC staff to issue instant fines for people breaking the rules. If the fine can't be paid on the spot, it will be assigned to the vehicle owner or rental car company.

The lolly scramble


The National Party's big-ticket item was promising $10.5 billion for 10 new major highways. It also announced extending $18 doctor visits to an additional 600,000 lower-income people and expanding access to the community services card. There was $120 million pledged for a new Christchurch stadium and $3m to boost teacher numbers through a bonus scheme for new teachers and by attracting overseas talent.

Jacinda Ardern's big move was to rule out an income tax increase. Labour was also all about health and transport - promising to spend $20m on a regional rapid rail plan to establish a passenger service between Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua, and pledging $259m a year so that half of all New Zealanders will pay $8 or less to go to the doctor.

And more transport from the Greens - this time a promise for a $630-$700m light rail linking Wellington's central train station to the airport by 2027. The Greens also pledged to provide free buses, trains and commuter ferries for all students and people under 19 around New Zealand as part of its Green Card policy, which would cost up to $80m a year. And they would build a congestion-free network in Auckland using $1.8b from deferring an east-west highway through Auckland's industrial belt.