Just as National Party leader Bill English predicted, this election is going to be a drag race with the top parties jostling for the lead depending on which poll you look at.

The first poll to be taken of New Zealand voters put Labour, or Jacinda as Labour is now known, ahead of National for the first time in 10 years; this week's Newshub Reid poll put National ahead by 10 points.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, whose party is also experiencing a roller coaster ride, has always been contemptuous of polls. And journalists. And the National Party. And Labour's wishy washy tax policy. And the New Zealand Woman's Weekly. And foreigners buying up our land.

The list is a lengthy one. But in the case of the polls, he may well be right to disregard them. How on Earth could you make sense of the numbers, as they're being presented by rival research and media organisations?


We will only know who'll lead the country for the next three years next week - and it could be even longer if votes for Peters and New Zealand First turn out to be vital in forming the next Government.

I know the pollies say it every year, but your vote really will count this election so if you haven't enrolled to vote, get off your backside and do so.

It's easy enough. If you have a computer, go to elections.org.nz or pop into your nearest PostShop, or call 0800 36 76 56. You can enrol until this coming Friday but not on election day.

Judging from news reports and my social media feeds, plenty of people have already cast their vote but I'm not voting until the day.

I love the ritual of waking up on election day and going to our local community hall and casting my vote.

The husband and I generally go to brunch afterwards and every three years we marvel at how lucky we are to live in a country and a democracy that allows us to cast our vote without fearing for our lives; that gives us the option of casting a vote for one of a number of different parties that represent a variety of different policies; and to be living in a country where we both have the right to vote.

I have no truck with anyone who plays the "you can't trust any of them" card and refuses to vote. Especially if that person is a woman.

There are still countries in the world where women are denied the right to have a say in how their country is governed and to squander that right because you can't be bothered to take an interest or to form a view is reprehensible as far as I'm concerned.

And that goes for young New Zealanders, too. If you don't want old people running the world, get off your backsides and vote. You only have yourselves to blame if the world isn't the way you want it.

I'm grateful this has been a relatively civilised campaign. Oh, sure, as things are getting down to the wire, there is some tension between the parties and their supporters.

After Steven Joyce scored an own goal with the fiscal hole that wasn't in Labour's budget, Labour was then forced to clarify and explain its working party and its capital gains tax to much derision from opponents.

Gareth Morgan and Top tried to start a cat fight with Peters and Peters was just himself. But really, there has been nothing like the nastiness of previous campaigns.

When Helen Clark and Don Brash went head to head, the blows were low and many of the comments from their respective supporters were vituperative and vile.

I would go home after four hours of talkback, despairing of humanity and craving a long, hot bath to scrub away the meanness.

But as I said a couple of weeks ago, whatever happens next Saturday, the sun will still come up and our country will still be a peaceful one. Whoever is in charge will be a decent person with a desire to improve the living standards of New Zealanders.

We are a very lucky country indeed.

• Kerre McIvor is NewstalkZB Monday-Friday, noon-4pm.