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Good luck with positive campaign

Editorial

It's back to business tomorrow for the country's politicians and what has been regarded as a sort of phoney war during the height of the summer is now coming to an end.

Parliament resumes on Tuesday and the country's four largest political parties, including those within the coalition Government, will all be aiming to set their mark and emphasise or establish their differences.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was hoping for a positive election campaign but quite frankly it is a case of “good luck with that”.

National leader Simon Bridges and New Zealand First's Winston Peters already seem to be sinking into something of a macho face-off.

Peters' Waitangi quip, borrowed from Elvis Presley, “You looking for trouble? You've come to the right place” has set a low standard that will likely continue through until September 19, if not escalate.

NZ First and Peters could face another challenge in the form of the investigation being carried out by the Electoral Commission into funding of the NZ First Foundation, the major source of funds for the party. The commission is acting following a news story from Radio NZ that the foundation had arranged for donations to be kept below $15,000, which is the threshold at which the donor's names would be made public.

Adding spice to the already testy atmosphere was a Newshub-Reid Research poll out yesterday which has the two largest parties neck and neck, and Labour and the Greens potentially able to govern alone without NZ First. That confirms that this year's election is almost certainly going to be a cliffhanger and will not improve the attitude of either Bridges or Peters.

Despite a rise in popularity for Bridges taking him into double digits for the first time, Ardern remains streets ahead as preferred prime minister on 38.7 percent.

Here in Gisborne the District Council has been forced to make an appeal to the public to conserve water as the effects of the recent heatwave, with nine days in which the temperature reached 30 degrees, left their mark.

The council was to consider today further restrictions to the limited sprinkler use already in force.

For older Gisborne residents it will be a return to an era where total bans were a regular occurrence, and bath and washing water would be deployed on plants and gardens.

Unfortunately for the council there is a lot of summer still ahead, with little rain in the forecast for the rest of February.