The campaign comes to a close

It’s Friday, October 13 and welcome to The Spinoff’s election live updates. We did it – today is the last day of the election campaign. Polls close at 7pm tomorrow. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund.

Get in touch with me on

It’s your last chance to learn about the political parties at

The agenda

And a final reminder: send pictures of any dogs at polling booths to for inclusion in our very special election day live blog.

Support our election coverage

The Spinoff’s coverage of the 2023 election is powered by the generous support of our members. If you value what we do and believe in the importance of independent and freely accessible journalism – tautoko mai, donate today.


The campaign comes to a close

It’s Friday, October 13 and welcome to The Spinoff’s election live updates. We did it – today is the last day of the election campaign. Polls close at 7pm tomorrow. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund.

Get in touch with me on

It’s your last chance to learn about the political parties at

The agenda

And a final reminder: send pictures of any dogs at polling booths to for inclusion in our very special election day live blog.

Support our election coverage

The Spinoff’s coverage of the 2023 election is powered by the generous support of our members. If you value what we do and believe in the importance of independent and freely accessible journalism – tautoko mai, donate today.

Oct 13 2023

Election-eve poll points to closing gap

Luxon and Hipkins go head to head (Photo: Archi Banal)

A Roy Morgan poll published this evening reinforces other recent surveys in showing a closing gap between right and left.

Conducted between September 4 and October 8, the poll puts National down half a point to 30.5%, with Act falling from the unlikely height of 18% in the last Roy Morgan poll to 11.5%. It’s the lowest combined result in the poll for the two parties for two years. As other polls have indicated, National would additionally require the support of NZ First, up two points to 7.5% to govern, its best Roy Morgan result since December 2017. A three-party governing deal would hold 64 seats.

Labour is up two points to 26%, with the Greens up 2.5 points to 15%. Te Pāti Māori is down a point to 3% and Top jumps 1.5 points to 3.5%. (If Raf Manji were to pull off an upset in Ilam, Top would take four seats; combined with Labour, the Greens and TPM they’d together have 59 seats.)

It follows a Talbot Mills internal Labour poll, provided to the Herald this afternoon, showed the left nipping at the right’s heels.

Here’s how the final polls look lined up together. (The Talbot Mills is a client poll, not the Labour internal.)

The daily wrap

For the final time this side of election day, let’s take a look at some of the day’s top reads.

This campaign has felt like a lifetime but it’s basically over now. Tomorrow we’ll be bringing you dogs at polling booths all day until 7pm. Send your poochie piccies to And want to spend election night with The Spinoff? Find our plans here. I’ll be there and so will our entire news team. See you there!

Watch: Chris and Chris – The final chapter

Last night’s TVNZ leaders’ debate saw the final end of the once beautiful Chris and Chris relationship.

Watch our latest supercut below…

Luxon wants to ‘get going as quickly as possible’ after election day

Christopher Luxon speaks at the National Party election campaign launch (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

I just tuned into a livestream to watch National’s big blue campaign bus slowly drive around Hampton Downs race track and you know what, it was riveting viewing.

After disembarking, Christopher Luxon fronted for his final press conference of the election campaign.

“I want to get going as quickly as possible, the country needs a turnaround,” said Luxon when asked how quickly he’d be getting into possible coalition talks following tomorrow night. “It’s going to be completely contingent on what the New Zealand public deliver us tomorrow night.”

Of course, there’s an election to win before any coalitions are determined. Whatever the results, Luxon said he’d spend tomorrow morning with his family, while on Sunday morning he’d be watching the rugby and thanking party volunteers. Later that day, he’ll convene his “strategy team” and have a discussion and what comes next.

He committed to stay on for a full term if elected prime minister but reiterated his claim that he had not thought about losing.

On voter turnout, Luxon said he wasn’t “nervous” but wanted to “guard against complacency”.

No Luxon press conference would be complete without a brief mention of Winston Peters. Asked again about his party’s decision to float the prospect of a second election, Luxon said it was important to “highlight the uncertainty that comes from MMP”.

He added: “The power is with the New Zealand people, that can generate in an MMP environment a range of outcomes.”

Luxon’s bus tour of the North Island continues and will wrap in Botany around 6pm.

Ibrahim Omer’s journey from door knocker to running his own campaign


For the final time this election, a door knocking story from the campaign trail. Here is Labour’s Wellington Central candidate Ibrahim Omer…

We are running a massive grassroots campaign here in Wellington Central, so I’ve been doing lots of doors myself this year. I love it. It’s an important way to know what people around the electorate are really thinking. In fact the way I first joined the Labour Party was by door knocking for Grant’s Wellington Central campaign in 2014. I messaged his Facebook page on the Friday and was door knocking on the Saturday!

This year I door knocked someone who then took to Twitter to review the conversation, which one of my campaign team saw. It was a positive review!

And because I miscalculated how many of these dispatches I had left to publish – here is Labour’s candidate for Epsom, Camilla Belich:

Once, I was door knocking with a local candidate in Mount Eden and we were surprised to find a bunny roaming around free range in someone’s garden. The bunny escaped as we opened the gate. This resulted in running around the street trying to grab it. Luckily we were able to catch it and return it safely the garden before the owner noticed.

Side note: Belich tells me this is unrelated to the Mount Eden bunny house, which you can read about here.

Advance voting latest

dogs at polling booths

Advance voting continues to track a little above the levels of 2017, but down on 2020. Yesterday, 151,280 votes were cast, bringing the advance total, with one day (today) left to over a million: 1,122,098, to be precise.

It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions about what this does or doesn’t presage as far as the overall turnout is concerned. Yes, it’s half a million below the same point in 2020, but that was an unusual time: with Covid social distancing a constant worry and, accordingly, extra days and voting places, that was always going to be a tough act to follow.

‘Groundswell’ of late support for Labour, says Hipkins in Māngere

Chris Hipkins casts his vote in Māngere (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

Chris Hipkins says he’s left it all out on the field during the election campaign and believes there is a “groundswell” of late support for the Labour Party. And despite the low blow “bed leg” comment in last night’s debate, he reckons his party’s campaign has been “very positive”.

Speaking to reporters from Māngere, and flanked by senior Labour MPs and candidates, Hipkins reiterated his decision to rule out Winston Peters and said it would be on Christopher Luxon to make a three-party coalition work.

“I have been very clear that we would not work with New Zealand First,” Hipkins said. “New Zealand voters well know that. Christopher Luxon has left the door open.”

He added: “My message to New Zealand is if you don’t want that, party vote Labour.”

Asked about the level of energy within the Labour campaign, and the view that it has increased in recent days, Hipkins said that was because of the “nature of the visits” in the first few weeks. And “there was a bit of a pause in the middle when I was in a hotel [with Covid-19],” he added.

Getting Covid was one of his regrets and “wasn’t particularly helpful” but Hipkins said the campaign had been “very vigorous” regardless. He also said he should have been “more assertive” in the first leaders’ debate. Anyone who watched last night’s debate will know Hipkins definitely went “more assertive”…

Stuff quits Twitter over ‘volume of mis- and dis-information’

After [insert years] in service of shitposting, Twitter died aged [insert age] (Image: Tina Tiller)

Stuff has announced it will stop sharing any content on Twitter citing the quantity of “mis- and dis-information being shared on the platform” along with “damaging behaviours”.

Aside from during times of crisis, the outlet and all of its subsidiary platforms will withdraw from the social media network effective immediately.

“When Stuff returned to New Zealand ownership in 2020, we set growth in public trust as our key measure of success. Three years on, our mission is to grow our business through trusted storytelling and experiences that make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place,” said CEO Laura Maxwell.

“As a business we have made the decision that X, formerly known as Twitter, does not contribute to our mission.”

Stuff left Facebook in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, before accidentally returning briefly at the start of this year.

Hipkins defends policy bonfire, plans for potential next term

Chris Hipkins at Commercial Bay in Auckland during the campaign (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

Chris Hipkins has defended his “policy bonfire” in an extended interview with RNZ’s Nine to Noon.

Early on in his tenure, Hipkins dumped a number of once high profile party policies, including the merger of TVNZ and RNZ, while putting a number of others on the back burner.

Speaking to host Kathryn Ryan, the Labour leader said when he took over the top job it became obvious that “some things” weren’t going to make a sufficient difference “for the level of spend”.

Citing the scheme colloquially known as “cash for clunkers”, Hipkins said that was going to cost “nearly half a billion dollars”.

“We never did it because we did the feasibility study – we investigated what it was going to do – I looked at that and said ‘no, for that money, we could actually get a much greater reduction in emissions by spending it on things like decarbonising New Zealand steel’,” Hipkins said.

Pushed on why that was dumped because of its supposed lack of outcomes but the widely criticised proposal to remove GST off fruit and vegetables was persevered with, Hipkins insisted it would make a difference for struggling households. “Everything helps at the moment,” he said, referencing people at his local Pak’nSave who couldn’t afford produce.

Hipkins said it wasn’t a mistake to rule out a wealth tax and said there would only be a point in introducing a capital gains tax should there be consensus around parliament, as it needed a long lead in time to start working properly.

Join The Spinoff for election night


We have a massive weekend of election coverage planned. We’re incredibly proud of our work this election and couldn’t have done it without the generous support of Spinoff Members. Thanks to their donations, we were able to cover this election more expansively than ever before with writers reporting from Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth, Wairarapa, Gisborne, Auckland and Northland.

If you’ve valued our 2023 election coverage, now is a great time to join the thousands of people who support The Spinoff by becoming a member or making a donation.

What you need to know for election day

Lots of voting questions and lots of answers! (Image: Archi Banal)

The Electoral Commission says there will be “plenty of opportunity” for anyone who hasn’t voted ahead of election day, with over 2,300 polling places open around the country from 9am to 7pm.

“Many people have got out early to vote, but there are still a lot who haven’t, and we don’t want them to miss out,” said chief electoral officer Karl Le Quesne.

Voters who have their EasyVote card should take it with them to make voting faster, but people can vote without one. This is especially key given there was some criticism from political leaders over a delayed dispatch of some EasyVote cards.

Another important detail to remember: “If you’re not enrolled yet, you can enrol and vote at the same time at any voting place,” said Le Quesne.

The commission also reminded voters in Port Waikato that they should still cast a party vote as these votes will be counted. Voters in the electorate will return to the polls next month for a byelection where they will select a local MP.

People can check where their closest voting place is online at or by calling 0800 36 76 56. 


The preliminary results of the general election will be released progressively after voting closes at 7pm on Saturday.  Results will be available at

Election day behaviour

Here on The Spinoff we’ll only be running dogs at polling booths until 7pm. After that, join us as the results roll in for up to the minute reported coverage.

But a reminder here: there are countless rules to follow between the hours of 12am and 7pm on October. Mad Chapman has the details.

Listen: Powering down to keep your savings up

Are we using our energy networks as efficiently as possible? In this week’s When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey talks to Marcia Poletti, Octopus Energy’s UK-based head of systems change, about how power companies can adapt their current systems to better support the energy grid.

Plus: find the final episode of Gone By Lunchtime this side of election day here.

The day ahead

It’s a busy final stretch of the campaign for our political leaders today. Here’s a look at what’s on the itinerary (that we know of, anyway).

  • Labour leader Chris Hipkins will spend the day in Auckland before returning to his Remutaka electorate tonight in time for election day. He’s just wrapped a morning of commercial media appearances and will next be Manurewa, Papatoetoe and Māngere for a walkabout, sign waving and a speech – effectively to rally the troops. Later, he’ll meet volunteers in Penrose for what has been described to us as “lunch and games”. Then, he’s in Ōtāhuhu for a walkabout and more sign waving. His final engagement will be at a phone bank.
  • National leader Christopher Luxon starts the day in Rotorua with a morning campaign rally. He’ll jump back onboard his big blue bus and head to a Morrinsville bakery before hosting a “mega cow campaign rally”. Sounds cool. Then, he’s doing a lap of Hampton Downs in the bus, fronting media and wrapping the day in his Botany electorate tonight.
  • A shorter day for the Greens. Both co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson are in Island Bay this morning to visit the marine education centre alongside a school group. Later, Shaw and Shaw alone will be pouring some pints. What better way to end a campaign?
  • I don’t for sure know where Act and NZ First are today – but they will be around somewhere. Let me know if you spot them.

The Bulletin: Humanitarian catastrophe looms as Gaza’s fuel supplies about to run out

Gaza only has a few more hours of fuel left, says the Red Cross, warning that the current humanitarian crisis will become “unmanageable” if hospitals lose all power and medical supplies aren’t allowed in. Water and electricity are already in short supply after Gaza’s only energy plant ran out of power on Wednesday. It only had capacity to generate 16% of Gaza’s electricity demand and the enclave was reliant on Israel to fill the deficit, according to a CNN infographic. Israel will continue to cut off all electricity, water and fuel until Israeli hostages being held by Hamas are returned home, Israeli energy minister Israel Katz warned.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says the US is doing “all we can” to secure the release of the hostages, but as David Smith in the Guardian writes, dysfunction on Capitol Hill risks hampering diplomatic efforts. There is currently no US ambassador in place in Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon or Oman, and USAid, which leads the government effort to help countries recovering from disaster, has been lacking a key administrator responsible for dispatching aid in the Middle East for nearly three years.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 38,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.

We’ve reached the final day of the campaign

Election 2023 (Image: Archi Banal)

It’s been a long campaign but we’ve finally reached the end. At midnight tonight, the billboards will come down, the sign waving will stop – tomorrow really is election day.

Today is the last day for political leaders to get out on the trail. Christopher Luxon will spend the day onboard his campaign bus, making visits along the route from Rotorua to Auckland. His campaign for election will conclude in his Botany electorate tonight.

Meanwhile, Chris Hipkins will spend the day in Auckland. His itinerary shows he’ll be highly visible, mainly out in public with volunteers. He’s actually kicked the day off with some interviews on commercial radio – he’s been on The Rock and is currently on Mai FM.

As of yesterday, close to a million people have cast their vote already – about a third of the anticipated turn out. Within the outstanding two million will be a mix of undecided voters and people committed to voting on election day itself. For those of whom the campaign has been too much or too uninspiring there will also be a few who simply don’t bother to vote at all.

A couple of interesting tidbits from the morning media round today. Firstly, outgoing Labour MP Stuart Nash saying that National should have knocked this campaign out of the park (but, spoiler, he says they haven’t). He also estimates a close race in his former Napier electorate. And secondly, another go around for John Key today, who has been rather busy the last week. He told Mike Hosking (or “Mikey”) that he thinks Winston Peters will make it back.

And, after being asked whether Luxon can “make a three-way work”, Key reckoned he could.