National's upcoming ad replaces rowers with runners

The rowers of the last election are being replaced with runners in National's 2017 upcoming campaign advert, a call sheet leaked to Newshub reveals.

It's an attack on the Opposition parties and features runners in a race, while a jogger representing Winston Peters is down for a starring role.

Prime Minister Bill English out jogging is already a feature of one of National's campaign videos, and running is set to be a key theme in its advertising.

The document shows that the National Party "are looking to film a television commercial for the upcoming election. They are looking for six adult runners and one child".

Last election National's theme was rowing - the video featured fast crew versus riff-raff, and the infamous Eminem soundtrack.

The running version seems pretty much the same. The ad wants "five people vaguely representing the two Labour leaders, the two Green leaders and Winston Peters". It notes that they "don't need to be fit".

Greens co-leader James Shaw says it seems the same as the last election ad, except on land instead of water.

"I just think it shows a total lack of imagination," he said.

There's no direct reference to what the National leader should look like - but they will make him look good.

The sixth runner is a symbolic child: "Young boy or girl. Mixed blood (Could be Euro/Maori/Asian). Age approx. 10-12 years. Fit. Prefer if he/she's a runner."

There's one crucial difference this time around. In the rowing advert, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wasn't in the boat. It was Kim Dotcom's Internet Party.

But if the advert goes ahead as planned and attacks Mr Peters, that could be a problem for National, because they'll almost definitely need him to win the election.

If National wants to make the election a running race - who would win? We asked some politicians.

  • Greens co-leader James Shaw: "I would. When Bill English says he goes for walk-runs, I got for run-runs."
  • Prime Minister Bill English: "I have no idea, I'm more interested in the election race."
  • Labour leader Jacinda Ardern: "I certainly wouldn't go for a walk-run."
  • New Zealand First leader Winston Peters: "If it's me versus Paula Bennett, or Gerry Brownlee, or Steven Joyce, it'll be all over rover."
  • National campaign manager Steven Joyce: "[I'm] pretty sure it'd be Bill. He's the runner amongst them and he's got a lot of experience in running and winning."

The message that National is going for is that it's strong and stable and will win the race. But if the ad goes as planned, with Mr Peters falling behind, then the ad is false.

On current polling there's no way that National can win this race unless they drag him over the line with them.