At the South City Mall in Manurewa, Polynesian hip-hop erupted from oversized speakers, prompting a phalanx of Labor supporters to greet Ardern with an impromptu dance.
Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford joined her on the last day of the campaign, but he was thrown to the edge of the crowd as Ardern was overwhelmed by fans, pulling her into their arms and shouting words of thanks for his efforts to contain Covid-19. .
Benjamin Ioata, 18, said Ardern was a good prime minister who “did his job well”.
“Whatever she does, she does it with pride – she takes care of us,” he says.
After a slow warm-up at the start of the campaign, Ardern’s energy intensified over the past week and she looked exercised as she walked slowly through the malls.
On Thursday evening, in a surprise admission, Ardern said if she lost the election, she would relinquish the Labor Party leadership and quit politics.
Asked by reporters about her plans if she quit politics, Ardern declined to be drawn, saying it was too early to write her obituary, and also ignored questions about how the planning was going. his wedding.
Labor had dropped one point to 46% but National also fell one to 31% in the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll. The center-left Greens and libertarian ACT both sat at 8%, and the populist New Zealand First party polled below the threshold to enter parliament.
For every political hope, this was their last chance to persuade voters; New Zealand is blackouting all election campaigns on election day. It seemed an increasingly picturesque tradition in 2020, as around half of the 3.3 million registered voters in the country had already voted since the ballot box opened in early October when the campaigns were still in full swing.
Collins – optimistic about the latest poll and a hectic week on the election track – held a press conference Thursday at the site of a government-promised light rail project that has yet to begin.
She said the failure of the project was part of an “incredibly poor” record of the Labor-led government.
Avoiding public walks, Collins had lunch with campaign volunteers before joining a group acting as “human signs” at a busy North Coast intersection.
About 30 volunteers chanted “Judith! Judith! upon arrival, dressed in mirrored sunglasses and a national brand windbreaker.
She hoisted a palisade, shouting, “This is the last day we can do this”, as the passing cars support it. About five minutes later Collins hugged some volunteers and was gone, in what was his last scheduled campaign event.
There have been murmurs among her party that she will not stay at the helm if her party loses Saturday’s vote, but Collins told reporters she is confident she will still be leading the party this week. next.
After leaving the intersection, most of Judith Collins’ cutouts were stacked on the side of the road, with volunteers instead preferring signs promoting their local National Party candidates.
The leaders of the country’s small parties, which in New Zealand’s parliamentary system are often called upon as partners in the governing coalition, were also awaiting a vote.
James Shaw, the co-leader of the left-wing Green Party, appeared in bars around Wellington, pulling pints and helping out on pub quizzes late Thursday evening. And he was back behind a barista machine on Friday morning as he served white dishes to coffee connoisseurs in the capital.
“Hope it tastes better than it looks,” Shaw told a customer.
The latest burst of energy on the countryside came in contrast to a sometimes lifeless election period that often dragged on, in part because voting was delayed by a month due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the larger city, Auckland, and in part because the countryside was largely devoid of drama or scandal.
On Thursday, the Facebook page of the Advance NZ minor party – which campaigned to oppose Covid-19 restrictions and claimed the virus was a hoax – was removed from the social media platform for violating repeatedly the rules of the technology company.
“We do not allow anyone to share false information on our platforms regarding Covid-19 that could result in imminent physical damage,” Facebook told RNZ.
The party was not expected to win enough votes to enter parliament.