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An assured National Party leader John Key kept to the party message during a visit to Dunedin yesterday.
He showed no signs of any nervousness about the forthcoming election campaign.
In earlier visits to Dunedin, Mr Key appeared to lack some self-confidence and had leaned heavily on the local knowledge of list MP Katherine Rich as he was introduced around the traps.
Speaking without notes, Mr Key delivered from memory the bulk of the speech he gave at the recent party conference in Auckland.
Questions posed to him by members of the Otago Chamber of Commerce attending the "meet the leaders" forum were answered without hesitation.
If he was asked a question the party had not yet released policy on, such as what National was going to do on KiwiSaver, Mr Key managed to turn the question around so he could give the answer that suited the main party message.
Any changes to KiwiSaver would be minor.
But it was out on the street that Mr Key showed how much he had grown as a campaigner.
During walks in the lower half of the Octagon, George St and the Meridian shopping centre, Mr Key (without being accompanied by Mrs Rich) had no problem walking up to people, shaking their hands and exchanging pleasantries.
Ducking and diving into shops and over to people walking along the street, he showed a campaigning prowess he had not previously demonstrated in the city.
On walking into a hairdressing business, Mr Key was handed the telephone and proceeded to have an impromptu conversation with a caller.
He finished by telling the manager the appointment was all booked in.
People called out, "Good luck, John", as he walked along George St.
Three people came up to him and told him what a wonderful job he was doing.
During his visit, a party staff member shot videos of Mr Key to upload clips to Facebook, YouTube and the National Party website.
National is still planning for an election on October 18.