Election 2023: Incumbent Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' plea to voters as he prepares for battle of political life

Chris Hipkins is vowing to fight every step of the way for re-election after a tumultuous time since taking over as Prime Minister earlier this year.

The election campaign for Hipkins' Labour Party launches on Saturday, setting the scene for the battle of his political life.

In a wide-ranging pre-election interview with Newshub Nation ahead of the campaign launch, Hipkins admitted he'd be "really disappointed" if his time as Prime Minister came to an end in less than nine months.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying the job, I feel like I'm just getting started really," he said.

"I'd like New Zealanders to give me a full term so that I can show them what I can actually do if I'm given a full term as Prime Minister."

He said he wanted to create an economy that would grow jobs and wages and one that would allow hard-working people to get ahead. 

"You'll see me setting out, over the next six weeks, my priorities and what I would like to do as Prime Minister. Obviously, I came in… towards the end of the parliamentary term and so I was inheriting a work programme that was determined by my predecessor.  

"You will see, in this campaign, me setting out my agenda - but I will also tell you… one of the things that's been very clear to me over the last seven months of doing this job is that you cannot map everything out perfectly at the start of a parliamentary term and assume that's what's going to happen for three years," Hipkins told Newshub Nation host Simon Shepherd.

Last month, Newshub-Reid Research polling had Labour in the low 30s - not enough to form a Government even with the support of the Green and Māori parties.

Nonetheless, Hipkins believed it was going to be "a good election campaign".

"I think it'll be a robust debate of ideas and values," he said. "That's what election campaigns should be about.

"We're just being up-front with the issues we see going into this election campaign - we've had two years of [National leader] Christopher Luxon bagging us every day. I think, as we get into the election campaign, we are going to push back a little bit on that.

"A lot of the nonsense the National Party have been putting before the electorate over the last couple of years hasn't been challenged - it's now going to be challenged because we're getting into an election campaign."

Overall, Hipkins said the campaign should be about "creating hope for the future".

"That's very much what I'm focused on," the Labour leader said. "What I'm setting out is Labour's visions for the future and what's at risk if there's a change of Government - that's a legitimate part of election campaigning."

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