Election 2023: Chris Hipkins dreams of victory, Christopher Luxon gets dressing down, Winston Peters concerned about 'attack' on democracy

One week out from election day, the Electoral Commission is fending off a broadside from Winston Peters who claimed that hundreds of voting booths in rural areas would be closed on voting day - something he called an "attack" on democracy. 

The Chief Electoral Officer is assuring voters they'll all have the chance to have their voice heard with the number of rural booths open comparable to 2017 numbers.

Earlier on Saturday, Labour leader Chris Hipkins couldn't resist a boogie while on a campaign stop in Ōtara, Auckland.

He also had a dream. 

"We're going to surprise everybody next Saturday," he said.

All polls suggest a Labour loss, but Hipkins is hoping for a late surge of support. 

"I think the mood out there has shifted in the last couple of days and I think we are going to see huge momentum in the next week."

Hipkins the hype machine was hopping to all corners of Auckland on Saturday with the same message.

"We're going to pull out all the stops… we are going to win the election next Saturday."

He said he "absolutely" believed that. 

National leader Christopher Luxon laughed at Hipkins thinking he could win.

"New Zealanders want change," Luxon said. 

At the moment polling puts New Zealand First leader Winston Peters in charge of change, meaning no clear winner on election day and the country left in political limbo.

"I don't want to work with New Zealand First… my strong preference is to have as few moving parts as possible, a simple two-party coalition Government with National and ACT would be good," said Luxon.

"I think New Zealanders are absolutely fed up with the country being held to ransom by Winston Peters," said Hipkins. 

Luxon took his big blue bus to the regions on Saturday, where the former Air New Zealand chief executive got a dressing down over closing regional flight routes. 

He also struggled with his dollars and cents. 

While behind a baked goods stall, he was getting one person $14 change. But he pulled out a $10 note, a $5 note and a $1 coin. 

After getting the correct change, he said: "That's $14, there you go."

It's unfortunate timing given the serious scrutiny on whether his tax plan adds up and whether their promotion of it has been misleading.

"It's up to $250 for the average household family," Luxon said. 

That figure will only go to 3000 families. Labour's Grant Robertson likened it to a tactic Briscoes has used for decades during the Newshub Nation debate on Saturday morning. 

"This is not a Briscoes' sale Nicola. It is meant to be a tax policy," he said. "You can't say 'up to' $250."

National's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis replied: "Are you implying I am somehow a Briscoes' saleswoman? Because I think that is unfortunate Mr Robertson."  

But those are not the numbers winding up Peters - he's bothered by the number of voting booths. Some rural booths will only be open for advance voting - not on the big day.

"Election day is the 14th and a whole lot of people going to 600 booths will find there is no booth at all. This is a disgrace," he said. 

Luxon said: "We have an Electoral Commission to do one job and that is to set ourselves up so we have free and fair elections."

Asked if he had confidence in the Chief Electoral Officer, Hipkins said: "That is a judgement best taken after an election." 

The Electoral Commission said that's business as usual.

"We are confident that everyone will get an opportunity to vote and have their say," Karl Le Quesne, the Chief Electoral Officer.

Peters is urging him to fix it immediately.

Asked if he would recognise the results of the election if it isn't, Peters said: "We have to."

Phew, that's a relief.