Election 2023: Winston Peters guards path to power as Hipkins resumes attacks on National's tax plan

Labour leader Chris Hipkins is out of COVID-19 isolation and back on the campaign trail, finding his second wind as he continues to attack the National Party's tax plan.

He has two surprising allies on that front - Winston Peters and David Seymour.

A COVID-19-free Chris Hipkins emerged from isolation and said he's "very much looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail".

A pastry refuelled the fire in his belly - in turn firing up the attack lines on National's tax plan.

"It's just a bunch of numbers plucked out of thin air and a scam," Hipkins said.

He's not the only one who thinks it doesn't add up - a show of hands at a recent debate showed minor party leaders don't either.

But National Party leader Christopher Luxon is sticking to his guns.

"With respect, our maths adds up and our plan is a good plan," he insisted.

This week Newshub revealed just 3000 families would reap the full $250 a fortnight reward of National's tax policy - something the party reluctantly admitted later.

"I think we've been very clear with our tax plan," Luxon told media. "Document lays it out."

Hipkins said the National Party's campaign is based on "slogans and soundbites".

But the slogans and soundbites have National racing ahead of him, and as the campaign finish line nears Hipkins is hoping this is not his final lap.

Newshub understands Labour's internal polling has them inching up - and the Taxpayers' Union-Curia poll released on Friday has them up 1.4 points, but still a good few laps behind the Nats.

"I've always got a second wind in me," Hipkins said.

"Polls bounce around as you've seen but I think our polling has been pretty consistent and stable," Luxon added.

That's about the only stability Luxon can point to as his side veers off the flight plan.

"If we experience unexpected turbulence from irrelevant minor parties, hold on tight and remember to party vote ACT to stabilise the flight to real change," ACT leader David Seymour said.

ACT is on the descent while Seymour's not-so-irrelevant nemesis Winston Peters takes flight. All polls point to the New Zealand First leader as the powerbroker, although he's ruled out Labour.

"It's immaterial. I don't want to work with Winston Peters. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, don't want to do it again," Hipkins said.

A much stronger position than Luxon can take - the National leader walked away from questions if he could trust Peters.

His path to power looking like it'll be paved by Peters.