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With comfortable lead in polls, Labour going policy-free in election campaign

Jacinda Ardern's Labour party isn't planning on issuing any policy statements until the final weeks of this year's election campaign, leaving space for their rivals to steal a march on the popular New Zealand leader.

Jacinda Ardern Source: Getty

New Zealanders vote on September 19 in an election, that if held today, polls suggest Labour would win comfortably.

However, Kiwi elections - with its quirky mixed member proportional electoral system - are never straightforward.

Back in 2017, Ms Ardern needed to negotiate the support of two parties to govern; populist right-wingers New Zealand First and the left-wing Green party.

In 2020, each Government party is taking a different approach to campaigning.

Ms Ardern's Labour is focusing on governing, which includes future Government plans and spending, hoping voters remember their efforts to eliminate Covid-19 and reward them accordingly.

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The party’s annual conference was held at Te Papa in Wellington, using its new slogan and all the usual hype of a party get together. Source: 1 NEWS

A party spokesman told AAP "this is an election where the rule book goes out the window", with no plans to release party-specific plans until their campaign launch on August 8; less than a month before voting starts.

NZ First, led by deputy prime minister Winston Peters, is also yet to release any policy - deferring last weekend's campaign launch due to a poorly-timed unspecified surgery for their 75-year-old leader.

The Greens, in contrast, are putting policy to the forefront.

Yesterday, they released a clean energy plan that would put solar panels and batteries on all public housing, and end all coal use by the end of the decade.

Co-Leader James Shaw pointed to the Government's climate credentials - including the passage of the Zero Carbon Act - arguing "none of it would have happened if the Greens weren't a part of this Government".

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The party is pushing for solar panels on as many state homes as possible. Source: 1 NEWS

Last month, the Greens released the most eye-catching policy of the campaign to date, an anti-poverty plan lifting baseline benefits to $325 a week funded by a wealth tax which would hit the country's top six per cent.

The Greens are promising regular big-bang announcements in the run-up to the opening of the polls on September 5, hoping voters take notice.

Polling has the Greens within the margin of error of missing the magical five per cent mark needed to return to parliament; which can be attributed to Ms Ardern's runaway popularity.

"Labour have sucked votes from everywhere," co-leader Marama Davidson told AAP.

"So we're not resting on our laurels.

"We're really focused on getting on getting a stronger, Green Government team back in and we have to work hard for that."

Opposition National, which changed leaders seven weeks ago, have also been slow off the mark with their policy plans.

Previous leader Simon Bridges preferred to issue "discussion documents" rather than concrete policies.

New leader Todd Muller has been focused on introducing himself to voters, issuing plans with talking points like "delivering infrastructure" rather than concrete proposals.

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Polling has been on the up for David Seymour’s party. Source: 1 NEWS

Micro libertarian party ACT is also enjoying a small jump in popularity as the poll nears.

They have promised to fight and repeal new gun laws, reform mental health and implement an employment insurance scheme which allows rich taxpayers to draw down more than less wealthy counterparts.