Duncan Garner: National is not the party it once was - they're rookies

OPINION: One week and one day out from the election, and it's been one helluva defining week for both the major parties.

Jacinda Ardern and Labour - underwhelmingly safe, non-transformational, the incumbents.

The Nats - all over the shop, rent a crowd, grumpy, losing, lashing out.

And if anything screamed out that National missed John Key, Bill English, Stephen Joyce, Paula Bennett, Chris Finlayson, Nicky Kaye, and hell even Simon Bridges - well, I guess he's still there - but this was the week that highlighted it.

They are not the experienced lot they once were.

Now they are the rookies, green if you like.

It looks like they have no plan.

It looks like they don't even know which event or cafe or shop to turn up to. One cafe was expecting Collins this week, so they made giant cheese rolls in advance. She never showed but went elsewhere to eat a cheese roll, and that's Collins, her own woman.

She's not going to change and suddenly do something or be warm because some minder told her so.

It's called pressure and it has been all on show this week.

For National they look like a train with the wobbles, which has come off the track. Not a freight train out of control because that would indicate they had some speed or momentum to start with.

Collins was never a hugely popular caucus figure because of her very nature and personality, and right now you are seeing even some of her caucus leave her to her own devices, isolated and struggling.

She needs to steel herself and reset for the last week to at least come home strong and save some of her MPs losing their jobs.

Whether she cares about that aim anymore is anyone's guess.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.