The opening shots have been fired, the mudslinging is under way and the election year lolly scramble has begun. All we need now is a date when the country goes to the polls.
We asked business high flier Rod Drury, boss of sharemarket darling Xero, start-up business operator Jeremy Randerson and IT manager Gary Rogers what they want the politicians to talk about once the phoney war is over and the election campaign proper gets under way.
Rod Drury 47, Xero founder.
Member of the delegation that recently travelled to Australia with the prime minister. His concern is that the election will turn on "stuff that's not important".
"What I'd like to see is the Government have another term because they've had two terms where they got the debt sorted and Canterbury [rebuild under way].
"I think they're very smart people and I'd love to see them get a third term to use that great platform [to] do some more exciting projects . . . the one we keep talking to them about is [an international internet cable] so we can take more control of our destiny."
National could win the asset sales argument by demonstrating that proceeds were being used to build up exciting new 21st century assets.
Labour needs another year or so to bed itself in under David Cunliffe.
Jeremy Randerson 37, Mt Albert, Auckland, businessman.
The big issues for him this election are the environment and the income gap. He believes in people being paid a living wage that allows them to stand on their own two feet without having to be given handouts.
"If they [are] paid a proper wage then [people] wouldn't need Working For Families and all the extras."
Health and education are also important.
"I am definitely sensitive to [the economy] but there's bigger stuff than that. The bigger stuff is people and the environment . . . To me it's the distribution of [wealth] rather than the pie not being big enough."
His hope for the election is that the politics is taken out of the debate "and we actually deal with the issues".
He will give his party vote to the Greens.
Gary Rogers 61, IT programme manager, Whitby, Wellington.
Rogers, who describes himself as a swing voter, says he will be looking for a party that convinces him its policies are evidence-based, rather than built around soundbites or spin.
"I get very frustrated about policy statements that are not backed up by principles, so what I would like to see is party manifestos that actually stand for something."
He cites National's asset sales and Labour's capital gains tax policy as two where the parties should be doing more to explain the rationale behind them.
On asset sales, for instance, there was no explanation of the rationale behind which assets were sold, and which remained in government hands.
"I'm going to be looking at all the party policies across the board . . . if they say they're going to lower taxes for low income earners, then why?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should TVNZ staff be forced to disclose party political links?Related story: TVNZ may seek staff's political ties