latest 1News poll is out and finally National has managed a small lead that is beyond the margin of error. It’s a start but it has to be maintained as we move into the campaign proper.
A National-ACT coalition would have the numbers to govern if an election was held today, a new 1News Kantar Public poll reveals.
But voters are still not sure Christopher Luxon is the best man for the top job, with only 18% selecting him as their preferred prime minister.
For 25% of respondents, Labour leader Chris Hipkins is preferable.
The Green Party has been punished by would-be voters, dropping from 11% in the last poll to 7%, disastrous for any hopes of a Labour-Green-Te Pati Maori coalition which had the numbers to govern at the last poll.
Te Pati Maori has also dropped slightly, from 2.6% on the party vote to 2.4%.
The National Party has gained 3 points to rise to 37%, and Labour has dropped 1% to 35%. ACT has remained steady on 11%, with its leader, David Seymour, enjoying a modest lift in preferred prime minister stakes from 6% to 7% – his highest in the last seven 1News Kantar Public polls.
Assuming Waiariki MP and Te Pati Maori co-leader Rawiri Waititi retains his seat, the party vote percentages translate to 47 seats for National, and 15 for ACT – a total of 62, just one seat more than the number needed to secure a coalition government.
Labour would get 46 seats, but an agreement with the Greens (9 seats) and Te Pati Maori (3 seats), would still only total 58 seats – not enough to secure a third term for the sixth Labour Government.
This is a much better poll for National but the concern about Christopher Luxon’s lack of traction is still holding National back.
He should be in front of Chris Hipkins, but he’s still a long way behind. If he isn’t front come election night then it may well go badly for National. If you need reminding, Andrew Little was lagging behind Bill English in 2017. Then Labour changed leaders and Jacinda Ardern polled higher than Bill English, winning the election by using her popularity to drag Labour higher. That isn’t currently happening with Luxon.
National strategists are openly grumbling about this issue. It has become so loud that even I am hearing it now.
There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge in this campaign and NZ First is sitting there within striking distance of the coveted 5% threshold. Winston Peters usually polls higher during the campaign, and as this election will be back to the normal pattern of elections expect the two main parties to slide as the smaller parties grow.
This poll gives a glimmer of hope to National and ironically it will ensure Hipkins chucks a tax threshold adjustment before the election as a bribe to the long-suffering middle New Zealanders.
Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE