TODAY |

Analysis: What can stop Jacinda Ardern winning the election?

With precisely one month until New Zealand's election on October 17, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour party is on track for a second term in Government.

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Campaign manager Megan Woods said it was “about getting our message of progress in front of New Zealanders”. Source: Labour

Bookmakers have priced Ms Ardern as short as $1.05 to win a second term in office.

AAP's Ben McKay looks at what are the banana skins lying in the road between now and election day that could send Ms Ardern's campaign skidding off course?

ANOTHER COVID-19 CLUSTER

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Police visited the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship last month when a prayer meeting was held during Level 3 restrictions. Source: Breakfast

After more than three months without a case of COVID-19 in the community, the Government took a mild kicking when a new cluster emerged in Auckland last month. Ms Ardern still has credit in the bank for her handling of the pandemic earlier this year, but new cases and a new lockdown - whether the Government's fault or not - could change sentiment.

ECONOMIC WOE

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Treasury expects unemployment to spike to 7.8 per cent in March 2022

New Zealand is in recession and today's GDP figures will confirm the depth of the economic pain. Thousands of Kiwis supported by the Government's wage subsidies are also coming off the drip this month. That joblessness may become restlessness.

INVESTIGATIONS

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The SFO is conducting "four investigations in relation to electoral funding matters”. Source: 1 NEWS

The three parties which polled the highest at last year's election - Labour, National and New Zealand First - are all at different stages of Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations. The probe into a shady donation accepting foundation tied to NZ First is the most combustible given the SFO has committed to making findings before the election.

WINSTON

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The NZ First leader was there to buy baskets but got distracted along the way. Source: 1 NEWS

NZ First's under-pressure leader, Winston Peters, is a wily campaigner and many expect him to throw a curveball or two before election day with a sensational policy or revelation from his time as Deputy PM. If NZ First tops five per cent and returns to parliament and finds themselves - unlikely as it is - in a position of power, the 75-year-old could also switch his loyalties to the opposition.

DEBATES

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TVNZ's Your Vote 2020 coverage: Debates, polls and election specials

Ms Ardern and Ms Collins will go toe-to-toe in at least four debates through the campaign, beginning next Tuesday in Auckland. Ms Ardern is famed for her communication skills and has a masterly grasp on the Government's programs and messages - but Ms Collins is a scrapper with nothing to lose, and the benefit of lower expectations. She will shoot her shot.


THE X-FACTOR

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The National leader says it has spurred her to have a rethink of her views on tattoos. Source: 1 NEWS

Campaigns are strange environments when anything might happen. Not every moment can be stage managed like a party launches - interacting with the public can bring embarrassment for MPs. Labour will be desperate for a steady-as-she-goes month but National, as well as New Zealand First, the Greens, and minor parties like the Maori Party will be desperate for interventions in their favour.