When National leader Bill English went fishing for votes on the Viaduct Harbour, he racked up a few - but had to throw some of them back.

Among those he met was Australian couple Terry and Bronwyn who moved to Auckland about a year ago.

Their sons Darcy and Harry were visiting from Melbourne and English turned into matchmaker - deciding one way to get them to stay was if they "met a Kiwi girl".

He cast about looking for likely prospects and when none popped up, he moved on.


Terry and Bronwyn then admitted they couldn't vote - "but if we were voting, he'd get our vote. He's got a bit of substance to him."

Hypothetical votes are useless and the same Viaduct walkabout also saw English stop to talk to tourists from America, a couple from Brazil, more Australians and the United Kingdom - as well as a multinational group who were a boat crew getting some lunch at Britomart.

He did have some success in sniffing out locals - he was waylaid by television show hosts Jono and Ben and chatted briefly to one young man sitting on a bench who told English he was going to vote - but stopped short of saying who for.

When he was asked after English moved on, he nodded in his direction and said "probably him".

The probables are the ones English was after on his proselytising mission.

Then came Sonny, a Samoan construction worker who chatted amiably. English had wife Mary - who is Samoan - with him and English introduced her. Sonny said "that's why all the Samoans will vote for you".

Perhaps not Sonny though. He later said he was yet to decide. "I'm one of those last minute guys."

Other than the walkabout, visits to corporations were the order of the day for English.


A day in the glass towers of Auckland's corporate sector was quite a contrast to Ardern's day at a union rally and packing food boxes at a south Auckland food bank.

Jacinda Ardern got stuck into packing food boxes at a south Auckland food bank today. Photo / Gia Garrick
Jacinda Ardern got stuck into packing food boxes at a south Auckland food bank today. Photo / Gia Garrick

But English rejected any suggestion he had neglected any sector of society, saying his campaign trail had taken him to more places than Labour's campaign from welfare centres to factories.

"This is probably the first time I've been in corporate offices, but there's votes there as well and we are keen to present people with the choice they are going to be making."

He spoke to staff at Vodafone where one person heckled him on child poverty and the environment - just after English had told them that now the books were in a healthy shape again, National could focus on both areas.

Then it was to ASB to talk to staff there. All the talking of the past six weeks had taken its toll and Dr Mary English prescribed a lemon, ginger and honey rather than coffee.

He wound up at law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. Once there he did not talk about what National was offering businesses or the wealthy.

He told them that National's management of the books during the economic crisis had put the country on a solid footing.

"There are issues that have been around a while that we can now deal with."

He said one woman had told him the Waterview Tunnel meant she could spend an hour more a day with her children.

He said people had forgotten just how far the Christchurch rebuild had come.

He referred to the $2 billion pay equity settlement for aged care workers, admitting the Government had been nudged along the way by a court settlement but saying he was proud of it.

"We can afford it. There's hardly another country in the world that can afford to do that."

He spoke about National's proposals for intensive management of youth and the young unemployed: "We are willing to spend whatever it takes to change their lives around."