Election 2023: Winston Peters says he can assure Kiwis of 'stable Government'

A by-election has been triggered by the death of ACT's Port Waikato candidate, Neil Christensen.

That's on top of a possible second general election, a prospect raised by the National Party in case they can't strike a deal with New Zealand First and ACT.

At an All Blacks experience on Monday, Labour leader Chris Hipkins ran, kicked and threw.

He was absolutely going for it - but it's the World Cup of New Zealand Politics that he actually wants.

His opponents, National, have their nerves frayed and have begun dallying with doom-mongering - threatening to send the country back to the polls for a second election if they can't make a deal.

"I think it's pretty unlikely there will be a second election but I think the reality is there's a whole bunch of uncertainty," National leader Christopher Luxon said.

Hipkins said the National Party threatening a second election "before this one is even over shows how unprepared and unready to be Government they are".

Winston Peters, the New Zealand First leader and potential coalition partner to National, said it's a "barometric measure" of how the campaign is going for them.

"But in the end there will be a much better and more stable Government, of that I can assure you," he said. 

Luxon said National is not panicking.

And it's not only the Nats. Their partners in pink appear to be panicking too. 

ACT leader David Seymour resurrected his threat of withholding full support and making National negotiate every single piece of policy with him.

"We will fight hard to ensure the real change New Zealanders up and down the country are demanding comes to pass and becomes a reality," said Seymour. 

Luxon said a confidence-only arrangement is "not going to happen".

"David Seymour and I have a good personal relationship," he said. 

Hipkins said: "Once again the National Party's final week of campaign is in meltdown today, with David Seymour threatening to hold a potential National Government to ransom on a daily basis."

Seymour denied that's what he is doing.

"That's just some people's construction of it." 

As his potential partners hit the panic button, enter the unlikely stability merchant: Winston Peters. 

"Stop behaving like childish schoolboys and start acting like adults."

On Monday night, Peters posted a video in which he said he would ensure there was no second election and said other parties should make the same assurance. 

Hipkins hoping the hysteria will lead to a shock red result come Saturday. 

"This unedifying spectacle this close to an election is a taste of what New Zealanders can expect if Christopher Luxon becomes Prime Minister," he said.

He reckons Labour's numbers will go up on Saturday night.