NZ Election 2020: Judith Collins needs to try and get through the week without any botch-ups - political commentator

As politicians prepare to squeeze in their last bits of campaigning before election day, a political commentator says National leader Judith Collins must get through the week without any botch-ups.

Election day is this Saturday and record numbers of early votes have already been cast.

Last week was one of many campaign woes for National. Earlier in the week, deputy leader Gerry Brownlee took exception to a question asked by a Newshub journalist and referred to them as "lazy as buggery".

That was after National spokesperson for local government Denise Lee slammed Collins' plan to review Auckland Council as "highly problematic". Collins did not consult Lee before making the announcement.

The Opposition leader was also forced to intervene after one of her MPs, Alfred Ngaro, claimed in a since-deleted social media post his Labour Te Atatu opponent Phil Twyford supported full-term abortion and wanted to decriminalise "all drugs".

Political commentator Professor Richard Shaw, from Massey University, says Collins must keep her spirits high.

"It's been almost impossible for her to get a clear run at her message without something being leaked [or] somebody misusing social media," he told Newshub on Sunday.

"She has no alternative other than to put her head down and plough ahead as she has been." 

Prof Shaw said all party leaders need to give it their all over the next couple of days.

He believes Labour will be hinting at governing alone as election day nears. The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll indicates the party will be able to do that - sitting on 50.1 percent.

"She [Labour leader Jacinda Ardern] has set out ... big picture issues - I think the implicit message in that is in order to achieve those things, she needs to be free from the handbrake of New Zealand First and possibly from the Greens as well, and so she would like everyone to give her her party vote," Prof Shaw said.

"That's probably what we can expect from Labour - the Prime Minister will be all over the place - they'll be putting her front and centre of everything.

"She'll just be looking to continue the positivity around the campaign - the tone of what is occurring when she is out on the streets is quite different to what is occurring to the leader of the Opposition, so for Labour it'll be, 'Ardern, [the] big picture, give us as much control over achieving those things as you possibly can.'" 

Labour's current Coalition partner NZ First registered 1.9 percent in last month's Newshub-Reid Research Poll - well below the 5 percent threshold needed to get back into Parliament.

The Green Party, which Labour is most likely to work with if it doesn't get the numbers to govern alone, was on 6.5 percent.