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.
With National still struggling around the 30 per cent mark in the polls, is the party in the death spiral? At the same time, David Seymour's Act Party has seen a stellar rise in support but just how much further can he drive the vote before October 17?
All eyes this week are on the second leaders' debate on Wednesday. Last week National leader Judith Collins was widely applauded for shaking off her nice persona and bringing back Crusher against Labour leader Jacinda Ardern at the debate. Collins has completely changed her election strategy, so is it working for her?
Labour has pledged to work with Rio Tinto on keeping the Tiwai Smelter open for another three to five, joining National and NZ First in wanting to keep the smelter open for a while longer. It's a turnaround for Labour, who just two months ago said Rio Tinto's decision to close Tiwai felt inevitable.
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Meanwhile NZ First leader Winston Peters's latest attempt at attention – his speech on race relations at Orewa was a blast from the past (Don Brash anyone?) He revealed he blocked a deal on Ihumatao three times, and threatened to pull the pin on the Coalition over it. But is it too late? Is the phone off the hook?
We of course don't just have an election on our hands this October ... but also two referendums ... euthanasia and cannabis ... and it's especially the cannabis referendum that has a big question mark over it. The latest Colmar Brunton Poll had support for legalisation down to 35 per cent. Should the Prime Minister come out and say which way she will vote? Should she out herself as a champion of the "yes" vote?