And they’re off – the Labour Party has declared the election campaign officially underway.

Jacinda Ardern kicked things off on Saturday with a policy to help get people back into work, and she’s promising 40,000 jobs. But the first of her party’s policies for the campaign is just a revamped version of National Party policy.

Labour’s campaign launch began with kapa haka and a performance from Tami Neilson. Her song ‘Big Boss Mama’ was fitting because Labour is hinging its hopes for three more years on their big boss mama – Jacinda Ardern.

The Labour leader was introduced by her partner and some backhanded compliments.

“[She has] drive that sees me getting a bit growly at midnight when Cabinet papers are still being read in bed, it’s worse than toast crumbs,” Clarke Gayford told the crowd.

But forgiven her sins by her very loyal, loved-up followers, lapping up her every word and reflecting on the launch of 2017.

“If you’d told me that we would have just completed a term in Government with both New Zealand First and the Greens, I’d assume you’d been watching excessive amounts of Stranger Things on Netflix,” Ardern said.

But it’s round two she’s after, and you couldn’t miss the pitch.

“But for all of that, there is more to do… And still there is more to do… And yet still there is more to do… But still, there is more to do.”

Luring voters with the first of Labour’s campaign promises.

“A wage subsidy to help employers hire those on a benefit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.”

For every new hire, businesses can get a subsidy of $7500 on average, in some cases up to $22,000. Labour’s predicting 40,000 jobs and it’s costing $311 million, leftover cash from the wage subsidy.

But this is not new, and it’s not Labour’s either.

The policy’s a zhuzhed-up extension of a scheme National introduced in 2012 and that National also tweaked and reannounced back in May.

Ardern rejects that Labour is bereft of new policy ideas.

“We’ve taken a scheme that is already proven its worth and we’re scaling it up dramatically,” she said.

Policy crossover is becoming a theme this election.

“When people ask, is this a COVID-19 election, my answer is yes it is,” Ardern said.

Both major parties are setting off on the same path this COVID-19 campaign.