Decision 20: What to expect at the Newshub Leaders Debate

All eyes will be on Jacinda Ardern in Newshub's Leaders Debate on Wednesday night after her first performance was described as lacklustre.

The debate is being hosted by Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower, who will be pushing Labour leader Ardern and National leader Judith Collins on what they'll be doing to sway voters their way. The post-debate analysis will also be hosted by Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien, who appeared on The AM Show to discuss what can be expected from Wednesday night's showdown.

Can Ardern turn it around?

Ardern and Collins faced off in the first debate on TVNZ last Tuesday, with some describing the Labour leader's performance as lacking in passion.

O'Brien says it will be interesting to see if the Prime Minister turns that around.

"Jacinda Ardern at the last leaders debate; she showed up like a wet bus ticket - but that was the strategy.

"She was standing there, she was present but I don't think she delivered and I think she thought the debate had gone quite well - the commentary afterwards was, clearly, not so effusive."

Decision 20: What to expect at the Newshub Leaders Debate

Labour keeping calm

O'Brien says Labour's plan of attack has been to keep calm, so it will be interesting to see if Ardern gets fired up.

But the Prime Minister said last Wednesday she felt "pretty invigorated" during last week's TVNZ debate.

"Last night I achieved exactly what I wanted to achieve, which was to get out our plan to give voters for that first debate the chance to hear about our policies and ideas for the future.

"I certainly felt pretty invigorated out there - so no I didn't feel that way at all, but what I would say is this is one of four I think over the course of the debates.

"No one will be left in any question as to our style, the leadership we bring, and the ideas we have, and that's the whole purpose," she said.

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Newshub.

What's Collins going to do?

"I'm going to do my job - holding the Government to account," Collins told The AM Show host Duncan Garner on Wednesday.

"I often look at the big promises made by Miss Ardern three years ago and look [at] what's happened - KiwiBuild, child poverty, all these things that she promised she was going to do."

"There's no policy, no plan, no nothing."

Collins. Photo credit: The AM Show

Collins' attacks could work in Ardern's favour

National leader Collins was hailed the winner of the first leaders debate, but O'Brien says she needs to be careful on Wednesday night and keep her enthusiasm for attacking in check.

Getting fired up could work in Ardern's favour, O'Brien said, and Collins needs to pull punches sparingly.

"It will be interesting to see if she [Collins] comes to the party in the same way - if she can hold back rather than overreaching.

"She can go too far so she's got to be careful, I think, about overreaching."

Watch the Newshub Leaders Debate on Wednesday at 7:30pm on Three and join us for live updates at