Politicians' faux pas as campaign wraps up: Winston Peters deals with lacklustre supporters as Judith Collins has cringe-worthy encounter with deputy leader

The final week of election campaigning has resulted in some awkward moments for the country's political leaders, as Winston Peters deals with lacklustre supporters and Judith Collins has an awkward encounter with her deputy Leader. 

In the most recent episode of Newshub's Kitchen Cabinet podcast, political reporters Jenna Lynch, Tova O'Brien and Anna Bracewell-Worrall revealed some of the most awkward moments from politicians this week. 

Winston's small crowds

It was a bad week for NZ First leader Winston Peters who, despite lacklustre crowds, is insisting that momentum is building for his party. 

"He is insisting that momentum is building, he is insisting that every single day. But there have been a few days I have watched that have been difficult, really difficult," Bracewell-Worrall said. 

She said the NZ First leader had a "very bad day" of campaigning in Palmerston North on Sunday. 

"That was the single most difficult day I have seen him have. He turned up at his first stop which was Highbury Market which is very sweet, but there were only about four stalls and there was no one there visiting the market and as soon as he turned up he looked a bit like, 'what am I doing here?'." 

"And then the second market was cancelled because of COVID and so they just drove around the town...on the bus and then kinda said they would play it by ear."

"It was a very bad day for him. Their public meeting that same day just had a couple of dozen people turn up."

But she said despite his bad day, in general, Peters isn't as grumpy as people might think. 

"I don't think grumpy is quite what it is. He just knows that he can do what he likes kind of."

Peters has been dogged by bad polls with the most recent Newshub-Reid Research poll in September showing NZ First on 1.9 percent, well below the 5 percent needed to get back into Parliament. However, a One News-Colmar Brunton poll this week showed some hope for Peters with his party on 3 percent. 

Collins buys mug without realising it's making fun of her

Another awkward moment came when National Party leader Judith Collins visited Smales Farm markets in Auckland on Sunday.

The National leader was delighted by the mug which featured a picture of her, along with the phrase, 'My husband is Samoan, so talofa". The mug was a reference to something Collins said during the TVNZ Leaders Debate. 

However, Lynch says the mug was actually taking the piss out of Collins, something she didn't seem to notice. 

"[She was] absolutely loving it not realising they are taking the piss out of her. And [she] picked one up as a gift for herself."

"Judith loved it," Lynch said. 

Collins was heavily criticised for her comment during the debate with people accusing her of "weaponising" her husband's ethnicity. 

The leaders were asked what they would do about high school students being forced to leave school and find employment to support their families. Collins started her response by saying "My husband is Samoan so, talofa".

"We've got to get people into trades [and] we've got to get them education," she continued, saying her husband also left school to find employment.

However, her answer was heavily criticised on social media with people accusing her of using her husband as a "shield". Collins slammed the criticism, calling it "disgusting".

Collins' weird encounter with deputy Gerry Brownlee

And it only gets worse for Collins who had a cringe-worthy encounter with her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee. 

Bracewell-Worrall said Collins and Brownlee had a strange moment in the final week before the election when Gerry was making campaign calls 

"It was kind of weird, she just walked into the room and waved her fingers 'Hi Gerry'."

She then accidentally startled Brownlee by walking up behind him while he was trying to talk on the phone. 

"He was diligently phone banking and she said, 'making some phone calls there's Gerry' and he was like 'aaah'."

Brownlee's awkward moment follows another earlier in the week where he unreservedly apologised after flying off the handle at a journalist for asking him a question on health policy.  

Last week, Brownlee took exception to being asked a question about a Labour health announcement, as it did not directly relate to his portfolios. 

Newshub had organised the interview to take place and The National party media team were alerted to the likely topics of the interview. A Wellington-based staff member did the interview on behalf of Newshub's political team.

But Brownlee lashed out as he was not across the policy. 

'"Is it Anna Bracewell Worrall? Yep. She should know better than asking this. Your people give me the shits. They're bloody lazy as buggery," Brownlee said.