It was the face scrunch that said it all.

Going into coalition with another party has its own challenges, but crossing the great political divide to lead the National Party?

No thanks, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's expression appeared to say after a public mix-up this afternoon.

The 37-year-old showed her displeasure when an announcer at the Diwali Festival in Aotea Square appeared to mistakenly introduce her as the leader of the left's great rival, National.


As thousands gathered in Aotea Square laughed, Ardern scrunched her face and raised her right hand, air-pushing away the prospect.

Auckland deputy mayor Bill Cashmore, at her side along with several other dignitaries, including National MP Melissa Lee, offered moral support before the moment passed and the focus returned to celebrating the ancient Indian festival of light.

Later, Ardern spoke to the Herald about her support for the colourful celebration of dance, fashion and food.

Aucklanders were treated to the colourful sights of Diwali at Aotea Square today. / Video by Jason Oxenham

"This is all about creating the kind of city and the kind of culture that we want to be. These kinds of festivals, where everyone comes together and learns a bit more
about another culture.

"There's only good that can come from that."

Ardern, the real National Party leader, Bill English, and the rest of the country must wait for Winston Peters and his New Zealand First party to decide who will be in Government for the next three years.

The main party leaders have a weekend of nervous waiting while staff coordinate over the details of the two packages that will be taken to the New Zealand First board and caucus for a decision on Monday.

Shriya Joshi, left, performs at the Diwali Festival in Auckland today. Photo / Doug Sherring
Shriya Joshi, left, performs at the Diwali Festival in Auckland today. Photo / Doug Sherring

Ardern said today it was fantastic to "be outdoors after a long weekend of being inside".


"I'm taking a little bit of time out, trying to spend a bit of time in Auckland and across the electorate I represent."

She would deal with any pressure from the looming decision the same way she did through the election campaign - with the support of friends and family.