So this is it. It's tomorrow. The country goes to the polls. And I still can't pick it. And I think that's the perfect situation to be in on the eve of an election.

What we will get, when all the horse-trading is over, when the bottom lines are rolled out and we know the make-up of the next government, is a strong government that will be held to account.

And why is that? Because strong opposition leads to strong government. And as we've seen over the past couple of months with the resurgence of Labour, when you've got strong opposition you get a government that can't shrug off and dismiss issues because they're miles out in front in the polls.

Child poverty is a good example of that. Under John Key, it wasn't an issue. In fact, Key was dismissive of the growing inequality in this country and the impact it would have long term. It simply wasn't something National addressed, or even felt compelled to acknowledge. Nothing to see here, move along please.


And now, 10 months after taking over the leadership, we've got Bill English saying he'll lift 100,000 children out of poverty. And after a lot of heckling from Labour and the party's extraordinary rise in the polls, the centre-right is forced to move on this. Yes, inequality is an issue and it's an issue that concerns New Zealanders.

And what about Labour? National drove Jacinda Ardern's U-turn on the capital gains tax. Labour won't implement any new form of CGT until after the 2020 election. It'll get its ducks in a row. It'll structure what a capital gains tax will look like, and then the country can vote on it in the 2020 election. There are no "captain's calls" not in a democracy. And National needling away at this prompted Labour to take a hit in the polls, and triggered the U-turn.

So you've got our two major parties riding each other, and they're neck and neck. It's the best possible outcome because a government without a strong opposition is a dangerous beast. It becomes dictatorial and it becomes unaccountable.

So irrespective of which way tomorrow's election goes the result will be a strong government and a strong opposition and that's the perfect political outcome for a democracy.

Rachel Smalley hosts Early Edition on Newstalk ZB