On his birthday, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins woke to learn Labour's vote has collapsed to fresh lows with an election less than six weeks away.
The latest monthly Roy Morgan survey of Kiwi voters shows Labour has just 24 per cent support, down two per cent from last month.
The right bloc is cruising towards an election win on October 14, courtesy of a big boost to right-wingers ACT.
While centre-right opposition National also fell, down 2.5 points to 31, a surge from David Seymour's libertarian party to 18 per cent, up four, means they can govern in coalition.
The Australian company's result is marginally out of step with Kiwi pollsters, who have both Labour and National higher - but with a similar margin between them - and ACT polling in the low teens.
However, the result is the same: an edge to the opposition parties of the right, which would make National leader Chris Luxon the prime minister.
Speaking from a campaign stop in Wainuiomata, in northern Wellington, Mr Hipkins said his internal polling had Labour higher.
"I'm not gonna share our polling every day during the campaign," he said.
Despite the numbers, Mr Hipkins, who turned 45 on Tuesday, said he enjoyed a "very nice" birthday.
"The kids sang me Happy Birthday and they gave me a cake," he said.
"I got to be interviewed by (shock jock) Mike Hosking - everybody's dream on their birthday," he laughed.
The campaign proper has begun with a debate over negative attack ads, with the union movement spending up big on ads arguing the Mr Luxon is out of touch and the wrong choice during a cost of living crisis.
Mr Luxon called the ads "incredibly sad and pathetic", while his campaign chair Chris Bishop said Labour had launched "the most negative campaign in history".
Mr Hipkins has retorted by holding up print-outs of National's own attack ads at his press conferences.
"This is one from Chris Bishop's own Facebook page where he basically says I have done 'F All for six years'," he said.
"Another one from a National party Facebook page which says 'Even eight-year-olds know better than Hipkins'.
"So I'm glad they are not going personal," he concluded, tongue-in-cheek.
The spat is unlikely to endear either major party to Kiwis, and is perhaps why minor parties are closing in on a record share of the vote at the election.
Winston Peters' populist New Zealand First party would win seats in parliament under the Roy Morgan results, polling 5.5 per cent, while the Maori Party would also grow its share to four per cent.
Labour's potential coalition partners the Greens also enjoyed a hefty bump, from nine to 12.5 per cent.
In good news for the left-wingers' hopes of growing their footprint on the electoral map, the Greens have slightly out-polled Labour in Wellington.
The Greens had 20.5 per cent support in the capital, where they are eyeing the seats of Wellington Central and Rongotai, compared to Labour's 20 per cent.
Party leaders spent their afternoon at Wellington's Te Papa museum for the Business NZ election conference, pressing their claims to an industry audience.
Mr Luxon said NZ was "totally, utterly, completely heading in the wrong direction".
"I've done a lot of turnaround jobs in my life," the former Air New Zealand executive said.
Mr Hipkins spent his speech outlining the setbacks both business and government had faced.
"We've navigated the country through a series of unprecedented crises ... it feels like the last six years has just been one major event after another," he said.
ROY MORGAN NEW ZEALAND AUGUST POLL
National - 31 per cent (down 2.5)
Labour - 24 (down 2)
ACT - 18 (up 4)
Greens - 12.5 (up 3.5)
NZ First - 5.5 (up 0.5)
Maori - 4 (down 2)
TOP - 2 (down 2)
Australian Associated Press