Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins have wrapped up their leaders' debate tonight by offering their thoughts on how they performed.
The leaders of New Zealand's two major political parties went head-to-head in the first of the highly anticipated debates.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Labour leader Ardern said tonight was an opportunity to give voters an insight into the party's plans.
"It is a chance to see what our ambitions are [and] where we want to take New Zealand.
"My view is that politics is not a bloodsport," she said, adding voters know how she does politics.
She said that the debate felt like more of a "contested conversation, rather than an argument between political foes".
National leader Collins guffawed at Ardern's comment on bloodsport and politics.
"I actually really enjoyed myself tonight, I felt like I could do it again."
She claimed victory: "I certainly didn't feel like I was losing."
She said a number of times that she wished it had gone on longer.
Collins said she got "a lot of policy out there" and was happy with her performance.
How the debate started
National leader Collins started the debate by stating she loved her country but that there was a "better way".
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said there was "enormous opportunity " after Covid.
She said a plan was necessary, "but so is optimism".
Collins was asked about tonight's poll, showing her party was at 31 per cent.
That poll showed that Labour could govern alone.
Collins referenced the second lockdown, which stopped the momentum of campaigning.
She said tonight's poll showed there were a lot of undecideds (14 per cent) and National would be targeting them.
She said some Opposition leaders in the past would have "crawled over broken glass" to get that high in the polls.
She said that she "is a fighter".
Ardern said to assume a Labour-led Government with no partners would assume complacency - that is something her party is not wanting to strive for.
Round One - on Covid response
"Our Covid-19 response has been successful," Ardern said.
The border was a big part of that she said.
She referenced Labour's plans to allow 10 per cent of all new arrivals to be key workers.
"We're trying to achieve an open economy," she said.
Other countries have not had the sense of normality that New Zealand has had, Ardern said.
In response, Collins said people need to be charged to be quarantined.
"We think people should contribute towards that."
Follow live updates on the debate. Scroll below to read more.
Collins said National wouldn't let people on the plane without a Covid test.
"This can't continue," Collins said, when Ardern referenced the fact that police were guarding the isolation facilities.
She added that police should be dealing with family violence and crime in the community.
Ardern pointed out that there have been eight escapes from
managed isolation; meanwhile 50,000 had come through isolation so far.
"Right now, we have to just accept there are limitations to safe border management," Ardern said.
Collins, however, said that was "not enough".
Collins said her Government would give the same treatment to important, seasonal workers as Ardern has given to the Australian rugby team.
Round Two - on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Christchurch, climate change
Back from the second break, the first question was from a Christchurch doctor.
He asked both leaders how they could help Christchurch's hospital.
Ardern said the region had had some "significant" challenges, in reference to last year's March 15 mosque shootings.
She blamed the last government for letting the deficits grow.
Collins said not enough money was going into some parts of the system.
She said she would send in Dr Shane Reti to fix the issues.
She said the $500 million that built the hospital was one week of the wage subsidy.
Collins said she "may" excuse the debt the Canterbury DHB has taken on".
Ardern said New Zealand's health sector "was failing NZ as a whole" in reference to deficits.
Ardern took aim at National's books - saying National has not put enough aside to pay for what she is talking about.
The debate then moved to the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
National would build another one, starting 2028.
Ardern said that the Government's infrastructure pipeline is the longest of all time.
She said that she never anticipated putting so much money into Starship children's hospital.
Asked what her daughter Neve would be grateful for in 20 years, Ardern said her Government was making moves on climate change, which
would be good for New Zealand's reputation.
"That's just nonsense," Collins said, after Ardern mentioned Labour's plans to build a new hydro plant.
She said that Labour's plans would increase electricity prices - that's not fair, Collins said.
But Ardern countered by saying investing for the future would actually bring prices down.
"We need to be realistic and hopeful," Ardern said.
"Climate change is upon us," she said.
She talked about "grasping" the opportunities that climate change create.
Collins said voting should not be lowered to 16.
Ardern wouldn't give a yes or no answer, which Collins mocked.
"She won't tell us," she said gesturing at Ardern, "just like cannabis."
Round Three - on education, jobs and taxes
The question now is on education, specifically on kids who have to work to support their parents.
Collins said the Government had to get people into trades and jobs.
Ardern said she didn't want any young people feeling like they needed to leave school.
The first step was to create higher-paying jobs so this problem would not happen in the first place.
She said her Government has raised the minimum wage and would continue to do so.
pointed out that the minimum wage was at $18.90 an hour, and that would not go up under National.
Collins said her tax cut would give lower income people more money - it would do that with middle New Zealand too.
"I shouldn't get a tax cut right now," Ardern said.
"Well give it back then," Collins said in reply.
Ardern said it was not responsible for National to spend money from the Covid fund on tax cuts.
Ardern said Labour does have a new top tax break plan.
"Now is the time to invest in those on our lowest wages. We should pay a living wage."
To create new jobs, Collins would cut people's taxes.
Collins said that people "will" spend the money they save from the tax cut.
Collins said she would probably spend the extra $50 she got a week from the tax cuts.
Ardern referenced the wage subsidy as a scheme that had helped New Zealand.
But she said her Government would create jobs as well.
She talked up her Government's plans to train "our young people".
Collins said Ardern doesn't know about New Zealand's tech sector.
National, however, would spend billions on innovating that sector.
"We need our New Zealand kids to be up-to-date with Stem subjects," Collins said.
That's at the core of National's policy.
Ardern said her Government would break down the barriers that stop people from getting into trades.
She talked up the Government's fees-free policy, saying it's got many people into university for the first time.
Round Four - on inequality, housing
Coming back from the break, the focus shifted to inequality.
She said that the Government needs to keep building state houses, and continuing to pay the living wage.
"We have seen too many children in poverty."
Collins took aim at KiwiBuild - saying the Government failed to meet its own expectations.
Her response was to reform the RMA.
Ardern says that for some people, building up enough for a deposit is problematic.
But she went back to the fact that there needs to be more public houses.
Collins hit back - saying a lot of the state houses built that Ardern is claiming a win for, were built and commissioned under National.
On a capital gains tax, Ardern says Labour has tried for three years to get a CGT.
Ardern said she still believes in a CGT, but she "gave her word" when she said one would never be put in place under her leadership.
"This is a housing crisis I can't turn around in three years," Ardern said.
Collins laughed at this.
Asked with what's wrong with a CGT, Collins said KiwiSaver and shares would be captured by such a tax.
Collins said her Government would build more houses.
Pressed on CGT, she said "we're not going to tax our way out of a recession".
Ardern said she wanted to make sure people had the choice to rent.
"I don't want people to be forced into renting if that's not what they want for themselves."
Collins would not say if she would scrap healthy homes standards.
Collins said New Zealand needs "new houses".
At one point, the moderator lost his trail of thought.
Ardern joked, saying that "you can be expected to lose your trail of thought after that," in reference to an answer by Collins.
Round Five - on farming, environment
Collins said that she was a daughter of a dairy farmer and understands how important it was to the economy.
Collins said she would "back you" and she would "not bag you".
Ardern said exporters want to know that New Zealand's food is being produced sustainably.
"We have got to do this together."
Collins said farmers are "feeling like they are bagged all the time by this Government".
Ardern said Collins' views is of a "world that has passed".
She said climate changes is an inevitability.
Collins said farmers need help and they're not getting it from the Government.
New Zealand farmers are the most efficient in the world, Collins said.
Ardern said when it comes to help getting New Zealand's agricultural emissions down, "we have to do this together".
Collins pointed out how little New Zealand farmers emit, compared to the rest of the world.
Collins said the Government needs to do more when it comes to transport emissions.
"We sell food, John, that's what we do," Collins says.
Her comments were in reference to what the job of New Zealand farmers is.
On water quality, Ardern said there was an urban water challenge.
"I want our water ways to be swimmable again," Ardern said.
The debate was drawing to a close - the moderator said the "time had flown by" to which Collins replied "can we do it again".
The Final Round
Collins said 400 New Zealanders a day losing their jobs is the biggest issues facing the country.
"You've got to have a plan," Collins said.
She said her Government will fast-track infrastructure projects.
Ardern said the most important thing right now is giving people hope, with a plan.
Her Government has that plan, she said.
She said the Government needs to do things to protect the environment.
She talked a lot about double duty - getting two things for the price of one in terms of policy.
Ardern said the changes her Government has made on wellbeing have been significant.
But she said there was more to do.
Collins says that is "nonsense".
She pointed out that more children were living in material hardship than before she took over.
Ardern says it is "difficult to stand by" and listen to that - she says Collins was talking about just one of many standards of poverty.
"I am not done on child poverty."
In closing, Collins said this election was the most important in generations.
Her party has a plan to build the economy - that plan is tax cuts to average earners who are struggling.
It's also about scrapping the RMA.
"Vote for us, because we are the people who get stuff done."
Ardern, in closing, says this has been a tough time for New Zealand.
She referenced Covid and March 15.
"You need strong and stable Government," she says.
"Now is the time to keep moving."
It is the first time during the election campaign Ardern has debated her political rival Collins.
The pair have sparred a number of times in the House – but tonight is the first leaders' debate of the campaign season.
But the party has dropped five points to 48 per cent since July.
National has also dropped further to 31 per cent.
As preferred PM, Ardern was on 54 per cent - holding her high popularity from earlier this year. Collins had dropped slightly from 20 to 18 per cent.
Speaking to media this morning, Ardern attempted to pre-empt Collins' upcoming line of attack.
"We will see the leader of the Opposition tonight play a bit of bingo and you will probably hear that word 'KiwiBuild' frequently," Ardern said.
"If that's her one attack, I'm happy to take it because I'm proud of our record."
Speaking to the Herald ahead of the debate, Collins was already on the offensive over that policy.
"KiwiBuild is just one broken promise the Labour leader needs to answer for," she said.
But the main point of debate tonight is likely to be Covid-19, the Government's response and what changes National would make.
"I suspect the Labour Leader will want to talk a lot about Covid-19, conveniently forgetting the lack of delivery her Government was responsible for on transport, housing, child poverty, economic growth, the environment and so many other things over the past three years," Collins said.
The National leader managed to get one last dig in before the debate.
"Tonight, I'll be reminding Ms Ardern that traffic over the Auckland Harbour Bridge is currently moving faster than her plans to move the country forward."