Five of the smaller parties - ACT, Advance NZ, the Green Party, the Māori Party and New Zealand First faced off in a debate tonight.
The one-hour debate on from 7pm was moderated by TVNZ political editor Jessica Mutch McKay.
The contest between David Seymour (ACT), Jami-Lee Ross (Advance), James Shaw (Greens), John Tamihere (Māori) and Winston Peters (NZ First) could translate to valuable votes for the parties striving to gain at least 5 percent or an electorate seat to guarantee their place in Parliament.
The debate follows a TVNZ / Colmar Brunton poll which had ACT at 8 percent, Green at 6 percent, NZ First at 2 percent, and Advance at 1 percent.
The New Conservative party took TVNZ to court this week in hopes of also being included, but the judge rejected their case.
TVNZ had set a criteria of polling above 3 percent, or having been in Parliament in the past two election cycles, so the New Conservatives' low polling tonight confirms they will not be able to join.
Another debate last week - Newshub's Powerbrokers debate - included ACT, the Greens, NZ First and the Māori Party. Advance co-leaders Jami-Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika went to court in a bid to be involved in that one - but were also rejected on the grounds they did not fit the criteria Newshub had set.
Here's the debate as it happened: