John Key has made one of his strongest attacks yet on the Labour-Greens alliance, calling their economic agenda "wacky, extreme and unusual".
The attack comes after he labelled the opposition a "devil beast" in Parliament earlier this month.
"It will be about National versus the devil beast, Mr Speaker - I know who I will be voting for, and it won't be the devil beast," he said.
It is part of escalating attacks against party leaders David Shearer and Russel Norman, and he is making no apologies.
"The reality is their policies are wacky and extreme and they are very unusual," said Mr Key.
Mr Shearer says the Prime Minister is just desperate.
"I think what John Key is talking about is extreme - it's off the planet, frankly," he said.
Dr Norman agrees.
"John Key is a desperate, divisive Prime Minister," says Dr Norman. "He'll say or do anything to get a third term."
Mr Key says his "devil beast" comments were inspired by a Sherlock Holmes novel.
"Sherlock Shearer and Dr Norman, so I needed a good story - so the Hounds of the Baskervilles is the one I chose," he said.
But how scared are the public?
When asked who they would trust more to run the economy, 55 percent of respondents preferred a National-led government with John Key and Bill English.
A Labour-Greens government with Mr Shearer and Dr Norman had the support of 37 percent of respondents.
Eighteen percent of Labour voters trusted National more, as did 19 percent of Green voters.
"I think that actually reflects the takeover that's happening of the Labour Party by the Greens," says Mr Key.
The polls do show that for Mr Shearer to win, it would have to be a Labour-Greens government.
But Mr Key and company must be careful. If their attack cries sound too shrill and do not frighten those swinging in the centre, the devil beast of public opinion could turn.
source: newshub archive