Christopher Luxon is still refusing to rule out working with Winston Peters - but he's telling Kiwis to read between the lines.
It comes after Newshub Nation's Power Brokers debate where both ACT and New Zealand First begrudgingly agreed they could work together.
Luxon was like the Energiser Bunny bar-hopping around Auckland's Viaduct Harbour on Friday's walkabout. One group of ladies even asked Luxon if he was the stripper.
"I'll do it if you vote," he responded.
He's hungry for votes following Thursday night's Newshub Nation Power Brokers Debate where NZ First leader Winston Peters and ACT leader David Seymour were asked if they could work with each other.
"He's fallen out with almost everyone he's tried to work with," Seymour responded.
"I'll show him how it's done," Peters fired back.
Seymour and Peters clashed at almost every turn.
"This guy's had enough turns already. It's not clear why he needs another one," Seymour said.
"Oh David, David, David, this is sad," was Peters' retort.
Both leaders eventually - and reluctantly - said they could work in a three-way coalition with National. So is Luxon prepared for this?
"No disrespect but I'd back my ability to lead a coalition incredibly well and get the best out of that," Luxon said.
Not an easy task, especially when Peters goes off-piste.
"Get some adults in the room and keep your trousers on," he said at the debate.
Will Luxon be able to keep his trousers on in coalition negotiations?
"Again, I'm not focused on that, I'm focused on making sure that New Zealand people know what's at risk this election," Luxon said.
Luxon is saying without saying: don't vote for Peters.
"Do not muck around. Do not be non-intentional with your party vote. MMP elections are notoriously and always close and tight," he said.
Luxon should have taken a closer look at his 100-point economic plan released Friday. Under 'Facts' was a prediction that New Zealand is already back in recession when it's not.
"What I would say to you is they are the best estimate of what we've got going forward," Luxon said.
"National Party have been peddling doom and gloom since the start of this campaign," Labour leader Chris Hipkins responded.
On Luxon's walkabout, he mingled with those munching on market fish and Montpellier butter.
This election will be defined by the cost of living crisis - although that crisis is hard to see on Auckland's swanky viaduct harbour.
While Luxon chatted over charcuterie platters, ACT leader David Seymour was promising to lift the ban on pseudoephedrine.
"P has never been cheaper," he said.
It was a key ingredient in cold and flu medicines until former Prime Minister John Key banned it because it was being used to make meth.
"I'm actually open to that idea," Hipkins said.
"We're open to looking at that in Government," Luxon added.
Consensus on cold and flu - but not the economy or coalitions.2023-09-22T08:59:35Z dg43tfdfdgfd