In what has been a year fraught with complexity, the economy has become the major talking point in the lead up to the election.

This makes today's debate between Finance Minister Grant Robertson and National's finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith for Herald's Mood of the Boardroom all the more important.

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The event is set to start with a keynote address from Mood of the Boardroom executive editor Fran O'Sullivan at 7.40am this morning.

Robertson and Goldsmith will thereafter take the stage at 8am to outline their plans for the economy.

The debate will be chaired by NZME managing editor Shayne Currie at a breakfast event in Auckland.

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This marks the 19th edition of the Mood of the Boardroom, which this year surveyed 165 business leaders from across the spectrum about their views on the local and international economy, biggest worries, and how they rate the performance of political leaders.

O'Sullivan said it was heartening that a record number of CEOs took part in the 2020 Survey against a background of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Optimism may have been at the lowest levels seen in the survey's history but their responses demonstrated their own commitment to turning the economy around."

O'Sullivan said despite the admiration for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership during the Covid-19 crisis there was a sense that the private sector's own ideas were not filtering through to either Ardern or finance minister Grant Robertson.

"Business has had almost enough of "9th floor" reign and wants a full seat at the table," O'Sullivan said.

As Robertson and Goldsmith face off against each other today, the question will be which of the pair is most capable of winning the confidence of the nation's business leaders at such a tough time in our history.

The stakes simply couldn't be higher.