National Party leader Simon Bridges will take to the stage today to prove to his party faithful he is up to the job, promising to "surprise and delight."
Bridges will deliver his first keynote address as leader at the conference at Sky City Convention Centre bolstered by National's ongoing high polling but with a lot to prove as his personal ratings remain low.
He is expected to focus on the economy - a key area of interest for party members - but will also outline a policy direction he said would be a change from National's traditional stand on an issue.
"There will be a very clear intention and direction in it that is a movement from where we've been a bit." He said it would be one area of differentiation in his leadership from the past.
National is also relying on Trans-Tasman competition to try to punch holes in the Labour Government's economic record, reprising the theme of the 'brain drain.'
Bridges said National had turned round the flow of people going to Australia, but his fear was it was building up again after a small increase in net migration to Australia in 2018.
"You've got Winston [Peters] with his ludicrous flag proposal but the only thing that is flagging under him is the economy."
Yesterday finance spokeswoman Amy Adams also highlighted the comparative figures of economic growth and business confidence, pointing to figures that showed business confidence in New Zealand was now among the lowest in the OECD.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said it was indicative of National's "negative mind-set" that they had nothing positive to say about the economy. He said unemployment was falling and the economy was forecast to grow.