Election 2023: NZ First, ACT candidates face scrutiny over Nuremberg trials, New World Order content

Labour's been dealt a major blow, with leader Chris Hipkins testing positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks out from the election.

After a full day of campaigning in Auckland on Saturday, Hipkins woke up feeling unwell and soon got the dreaded result.

There were all the signs of Chris Hipkins on Sunday but no sign of the man himself. Because uh-oh, there's been a campaign COVID-tastrophe.

"Unfortunately you may have heard that Chippy's not well. He's actually come down with COVID," Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis said.

Right in the final fortnight of the campaign.

"Bugger," said Hipkins. After feeling pretty unwell on Sunday morning he tested positive. That means he's isolating for five days or until he tests negative.

That left Labour's manifesto launch to another duo - Davis and MP Carmel Sepuloni.

"You do have Māori Ken and Samoan Barbie over there," Davis said. Sepuloni said she wasn't "particularly fond" of the title.

Samoan Barbie or not, she brought the energy as she told the crowd "I'm excited".

Though it wasn't excitement for a political advantage that rippled through the respective campaign camps, but 'sorrys'.

"Firstly I just want to wish Chris all the best for a speedy recovery," said National leader Christopher Luxon.

"I'm really sorry to hear that," said ACT leader David Seymour.

"I'm sorry he's got COVID," added NZ First leader Winston Peters. "Hope he gets over it quickly."

Well, sorrys to start with at least.

"The more they don't see him, the more chance he has of doing better," Peters later said.

Sepuloni said Labour "can't let" Hipkins' COVID-19 test be a handbrake on its campaign. The Labour members were clearly disappointed Hipkins has tested positive but are doing everything to keep themselves positive.

"I think we've got a strong team that can surround the Prime Minister… until he's ready to come back," one supporter said.

"The vibes are up - in fact they're going up and up. It's really great," another supporter added.

Vibes are certainly up in the blue camp as National released its priorities for its first 100 days.

"It's only 13 more sleeps to go," Luxon said.

And who Luxon could be working with is again in the spotlight. Newshub can reveal New Zealand First's number eight Tanya Unkovich is a member of the Nuremberg Trials channel on Telegram which says the COVID-19 vaccine was akin to the Nazis' war crimes.

"I'm not here to waste the public's time by answering your inane, stupid questions," Peters told Newshub.

ACT is now practically begging Kiwis not to vote for Peters in a new campaign video with Seymour warning it's "a choice of more of the same or chaos".

But Newshub can reveal Seymour has more of his own candidates to wrangle - his number 13, Ash Parmar.

In 2020, the ACT candidate commented on a Facebook rant about the 'New World Order' that it "sure f***ing sucks to be basically a pawn in a grand game we have no control over".

"We back him 100 percent. The idea that we are going to start witch-hunting and judging people on ancient Facebook comments when we've got an economy to fix, that doesn't stack up," Seymour said.

"And I am quite comfortable in my ability to form good teams," Luxon said.

But Labour isn't convinced.

"The idea of Christopher Luxon trying to rein in David Seymour and Winston Peters is inconceivable," Sepuloni said.

Also inconceivable is losing a leader to a COVID-19 campaign curveball.