Every Monday until the election The Front Bench will take on the biggest talking points of the election campaign. Heather du Plessis-Allan, Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper, former Act Party press secretary Trish Sherson and former Labour minister Chris Carter have the inside word and analysis.
Judith Collins has gone to great lengths to make sure people understand she's a woman of faith this past week. It all started off this comment at the Newshub debate: "As a Christian I do actually believe in miracles but he [Winston Peters] ain't going to be one of them."
Yesterday, things ramped up when Judith Collins went to vote at a church on Sunday and was filmed and photographed kneeling down, head on her hands in prayer. She explained to Mike Hosking how the situation came about: "The Minister said oh would you like to pop in and have a prayer service. And I said yes, I would. I didn't ask the media in, but I turned around and there they were all happily taking shots. So, I thought well I'll just keep doing what I'm doing." But speaking today, the Front Bench didn't buy this excuse, agreeing it's a play to win votes.
Jacinda Ardern has copped criticism for politicising the level 1 announcement today because she used the opportunity to criticise other party's border policies and National's housing plan. Was this her most political announcement yet?
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It wasn't a good week for Winston Peters last week with news that the SFO has charged two people linked to the NZ First Foundation with obtaining by deception. Winston Peters gave a fiery press conference to say NZ First and any of its MPs had been completely exonerated by the SFO. Despite that he said he's launching legal action against the SFO for releasing details about the investigation just before the election. The Front Bench debates whether this means NZ First should be written off, or if Winston Peters can still save the party.
Last week, The Front Bench debated if National was in a death spiral. Since then, the Colmar Brunton poll has placed National at 33 per cent ... up 2 ... Labour is down 1 on 47 ... Act is up 1 on 8 ... and the Greens are up 1 on 7 and NZ First down 1 on 1. Currently there's still a gap of 14 points between National/Act and Labour/Greens.
Labour's been busy matching National Party policies: RMA reform, Tiwai, bailing out Canterbury DHB to name just a few ... and Jacinda Ardern has turned up the attack on Judith Collins personally. Over the weekend, Labour released a new election ad ... that ends like this: "now is not the time to slow down, together let's keep moving." Is Labour scared voters will become complacent? Is the party getting defensive? And on the other side of the house, is National gaining momentum?
And last but not least – an election story that's making headlines all over the world right now. US president Donald Trump has caught Covid-19, throwing the US election up in the air. What does his diagnosis meant for his re-election chances, let alone his health?