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New poll shows the race remains tight

It’s Wednesday, October 11 and welcome to The Spinoff’s election live updates. There are just three days to go… I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund.

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Learn more about the political parties, candidates and leaders at

The agenda

Dogs at polling booths is back for election day 2023. On Saturday, The Spinoff live updates will be bringing you only photos of dogs outside polling stations. Send your pics through to, just make sure there are no humans visible.

Support our election coverage

The Spinoff’s coverage of the 2023 election is powered by the generous support of our members. If you value what we do and believe in the importance of independent and freely accessible journalism – tautoko mai, donate today.


New poll shows the race remains tight

It’s Wednesday, October 11 and welcome to The Spinoff’s election live updates. There are just three days to go… I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund.

Get in touch with me on

Learn more about the political parties, candidates and leaders at

The agenda

Dogs at polling booths is back for election day 2023. On Saturday, The Spinoff live updates will be bringing you only photos of dogs outside polling stations. Send your pics through to, just make sure there are no humans visible.

Support our election coverage

The Spinoff’s coverage of the 2023 election is powered by the generous support of our members. If you value what we do and believe in the importance of independent and freely accessible journalism – tautoko mai, donate today.

Oct 11 2023

Final TV polls of the campaign both show a surging NZ First holding balance of power

Election 2023 (Image: Archi Banal)

The two final televised polls of the election campaign both show National would be in a position to lead the next government – but party leader Christopher Luxon will be picking up the phone to call Winston Peters.

It follows another poll this morning from The Guardian which also showed a slight fall for National and New Zealand First holding the balance of power.

It begs the question, according to Newshub’s Jenna Lynch, has National peaked too early?

Newshub’s Reid Research poll had National slumping by 4.6% to 34.5%, with Labour still trailing on 27.5% (but up one point). The Greens are up nearly one point to 14.9%, with Act steady on 8.8%. But New Zealand First is the big mover here – up 1.6 points to 6.8% and bringing nine MPs to parliament after October 14.

Te Pāti Māori is still well short of the 5% threshold on 2.7%, but would be safe in parliament if the party retains an electorate.

Over on 1News, the latest Verian poll painted a similar picture in terms of the overall outcome, but the news was slightly better for Luxon. National is up one point to 37%, well ahead of Labour which is up two points to 28%. The Greens are up one to 14%, Act down one to 9% (the only party in this poll to lose support) and New Zealand First is steady on 6%.

Both polls show the Greens bringing a record 17 MPs into parliament.

All the main party leaders
Election 2023 (Image: Archi Banal)

Taking a look at these numbers in terms of seats. The Newshub poll has the left bloc now with more support than the right – 57 seats to 54. But neither could make it to parliament without Winston Peters who has ruled out working with Labour.

The 1News poll has 54 seats for the left, with 58 for the right – still both short of the 61 required and therefore, once again, meaning hello Winston Peters.

Of course, it’s possible Chris Hipkins could also be ringing Winston Peters on election night should these numbers be accurate. But he has reiterated multiple times that he wouldn’t lead a government with New Zealand First.

The preferred prime minister numbers are fairly tied at this point of the campaign. Newshub has Chris Hipkins on 22.2% and Christopher Luxon a nose ahead on 23.6%.

The daily wrap

First up a reminder that we’re heading into a double poll night – yes, both 1News and Newshub will be sharing their final polls of the campaign at 6pm. I advise sending a family member/partner/child to a different room and making them watch one poll while you watch the other and then comparing. Could be fun? We’ll have all the details a little later on in the evening…

For now, with just two more days of campaigning to go, here are some of the day’s top stories.

We’ll be back with those poll numbers later. Until then, farewell.

Kieran McAnulty’s most dedicated campaign volunteer is his mum


Ahead of this weekend’s election, The Spinoff live updates asked MPs and candidates from across the political spectrum for their story about the age old campaign technique of door knocking. Today: Labour’s Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty writes.

There is no better thing to do in a campaign than to knock on doors. I reckon if I’m going to ask people to vote for me then I should do so face to face as much as I can. But of course I can’t do it all by myself so, like every other candidate, I rely on some help from volunteers and supporters.

One of my most dedicated supporters is my mum. She is out on the doors all the time. She doesn’t follow a script, or even talk about politics sometimes. She knows a lot of people and she ends up having a yarn for ages about this, that and the next thing. But I think that’s great.

She keeps it down to earth, which is how I’ve tried to approach being an MP.

Advance vote latest

dogs at polling booth

Yesterday saw 120,331 advance votes cast, bringing the total to 843,044 – about a quarter of all enrolled voters.

In both 2017 and 2020, the last three days of advance voting saw just over 560,000 ballots cast. If that is repeated this time, we’ll end on just over 1.4 million advance votes, above the 2017 equivalent and about 500,000 below 2020.

Luxon reiterates plea for party votes in face of NZ First surge

Christopher Luxon speaks at the National conference at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty

Not a huge amount out of this afternoon’s Christopher Luxon press conference, though he was asked more questions about dinosaurs which is… something.

But with three days to go, both Luxon and Chris Hipkins are claiming their own campaigns have ongoing momentum. Luxon told reporters from Dannevirke that National’s campaign had not peaked and people wanted change.

“In the next three days, people get to decide what happens in the next three years. More of the same doesn’t cut it,” he said. Asked if he was “resigned” to the fact he’d be working with Winston Peters, Luxon instead reiterated his desire to “maximise” the National Party vote.

“That is the guaranteed way to change this government,” he said. “This is a great country but we are going in the wrong direction. We’re going to be a government that delivers for all New Zealanders.”

It’s a double poll night

We’ve already had one poll this morning and we knew we were in for a second one on TVNZ tonight.

But Newshub’s confirmed it will also be dropping its final Reid Research poll of the campaign. That means both major news networks will share the latest numbers at 6pm.

Polls always need to be taken with a degree of caution, but if both align it will make for a very interesting final two days of the campaign.

We’ll have the numbers for you later tonight. Be there!

‘Huge amount of momentum’: Hipkins says Labour on the up with 72 hours to go

Chris Hipkins at the Labour Party campaign launch, Aotea Centre, Auckland. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty

Labour leader Chris Hipkins maintains that his party has a “huge amount of momentum” going into the final days of the election campaign.

A new poll out this morning for The Guardian had Labour back into the low 30s and the left bloc ahead of National and Act. But it also showed New Zealand First had surged in front of Act and would comfortably wield the balance of power.

Speaking to reporters from Christchurch, Hipkins, flanked by a cohort of nodding Canterbury Labour candidates, said that Labour’s support would continue to rise in time for Saturday.

“I think the election result is going to surprise a lot of people… the next 72 days is going to be critical,” he said.

There remained a large amount of undecided voters, suggested Hipkins, and the majority of eligible New Zealanders had still not been to the ballot box yet.

While Hipkins would confirm his party’s internal polling also showed Labour on the rise, he wouldn’t reveal whether it had the party back in the 30s.

Meanwhile, Labour’s East Coast candidate Tamati Coffey has shared an endorsement in the electorate from former Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere. In the Facebook post, Coffey said that both he and Kerekere acknowledged that the seat’s Green candidate wasn’t seeking the electorate vote and, as such, people should throw their support behind his bid.

“Tamati Coffey is running an absolutely outstanding campaign,” Hipkins said today, adding that Kerekere was entitled to back whomever she wanted.

Net migration surges to record in year to August

An Air Zealand plane after it landed at Sydney International Airport (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

New Zealand hit record net migration in the year ending August, with Stats NZ reporting a gain of 110,200. Net migrations is the difference between migrant arrivals and departures.

“Annual migrant arrivals reached an all-time high of 225,400 in the August 2023 year,” said Stats NZ’s population indicators manager Tehseen Islam. “The 115,100 migrant departures were just below the annual record of 117,400 in the February 2012 year,”

Revised estimates show that annual net migration first exceeded 100,000 in the July 2023 year.

“Net migration continues to be driven by non-New Zealand citizen arrivals, with about eight out of nine migrants arriving on a non-New Zealand passport,” Islam said. “This follows a progressive relaxation of Covid-19-related border restrictions from early 2022, as well as changes to immigration settings.”

Inflation and crime top poll of most important issues for voters

Image: Archi Banal

Inflation and crime have continued their reign as the top issues on voters’ minds, a new Ipsos Issues Monitor poll has found, while housing has slipped to fourth behind healthcare and hospitals.

The rankings of the top issues have been relatively static since February. The only significant mover is petrol prices/fuel, which jumped from being an important issue for just 11% of voters in May to 24% today, tied for fifth alongside the economy.

National is ranked as the party voters consider most capable of handling all top five issues and 15 out of the top 20. Labour is ranked first in just two: race relations/racism and poverty/inequality, while the Greens are preferred for climate change and environmental pollution, and Te Pāti Māori is most trusted on issues facing Māori.

That’s largely unchanged from August, when National overtook Labour for the first time on some of the centre-left’s traditional strong points: healthcare/hospitals, education, transport, drug/alcohol abuse, and unemployment. The only change in this poll is National taking the top spot on the issue of population/overpopulation away from the powerhouse party of “don’t know”.

In some good news for Labour, the party has made small inroads on many of its core issues. While it still ranks behind National, it saw a five-point jump in the number of people who trusted it most on inflation/cost of living compared to August, and increases of between two and five points on each of the top five issues, showing the party is winning back some trust among voters.

The day ahead

There are just three more days of campaigning – and here’s a look at where the political leaders are today (that we know of).

  • Labour leader Chris Hipkins is in Christchurch and will begin the day at the city mission. From there, he’ll visit an electric vehicle dealership, front to media and then wrap the day with a nice little mall walkabout.
  • In the lower North Island, National’s Christopher Luxon has boarded his campaign bus in Petone. He’ll head into Hipkins territory in Upper Hutt before heading over the Remutaka Hill to Masterton for a cafe stop and a rally. Later, he’ll be in Dannevirke where he will speak to media before ending the day with another rally in Napier.
  • Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson is in Auckland to speak at a union event this morning. Her counterpart James Shaw is spending the day in Wellington and will spend much of his time with Rongotai candidate Julie Anne Genter, including making coffees and visiting a school, before heading to a debate.

The Bulletin: Act and NZ First play slightly nicer

As Andrea Vance writes for The Post, there was still “theatre and a few sparks” between David Seymour and Winston Peters at last night’s Press debate in Christchurch,  but “both reined in their previous enmity”. The Herald’s Derek Cheng (paywalled) and’s Dan Brunskill have examined the alignment between National, Act and NZ First. Cheng writes that “if you remove all the noise, Christopher Luxon, Seymour and Peters would be more likely than not to find enough common ground to cobble together a government”, while Brunskill highlights the likely sticking points.

There’s an interesting snippet from Luxon’s “job interview” on the Herald this morning, with Luxon dodging a question about whether he knew that campaign chair Chris Bishop was going to publicly float the prospect of a second election if talks with NZ First fell over. With Seymour and Peters keen to downplay the notion of a second election at last night’s debate, it does seem as if they have moved into an acceptance phase, albeit with one happier about the prospect than the other. National may need to cycle through past denial and meet them there.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 38,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture. 

Jacinda Ardern beams into the campaign from Boston

Ardern on FB live

We’ve heard from both John Key and Helen Clark quite a lot in recent days, but there has been a Jacinda Ardern-shaped hole in the election campaign. Until now.

The former Labour leader beamed into election season via her chosen method of Facebook Live this morning, ahead of making snacks for a “hungry five year-old”.

In the video, which has already been seen by 20,000 people, Ardern implored people to vote for what they believe in this election. “That’s not just the here and now, it’s about what you believe in for New Zealand for tomorrow, the next five years, the next 10 years,” she said.

“Think about the future and the future you want for New Zealand and keep it simple. If you voted for me in 2017, thank you for that… the Labour Party has had two terms in office, long enough to make progress but not long enough to finish the job. And our country needs us to finish the job.”

Ardern said her decision to stay out of domestic politics was intentional after leaving office and about handing the “mantle” over to others. It wasn’t, she said, anything to do with her personal beliefs. “That’s a big thing to remove yourself from something you’ve been doing… for 15 years.”

Acknowledging her ninth floor successor, Ardern said she knew Chris Hipkins as a dad, a friend, a minister, and as a person. “I can hand on heart tell you that what he says is true,” she said. “I just wanted to acknowledge my friend… he’s a good person and he does deserve your support.”

Ardern took aim at parties with “unfunded” election promises and said that Labour had a strong track record on issues like child poverty and climate action.

She also referenced her current role in the United States and said she was exposed to people from around the world who couldn’t vote as easily as in New Zealand. “Please vote. I have never ever in my time seen an election where a vote doesn’t matter,” she said. “The choice not to vote is a deliberate choice to hand someone else more power with their vote because of the absence of yours.”

New poll: NZ First overtakes Act as Labour picks up last minute steam

Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters. Image: Archi Banal

A new poll for The Guardian has New Zealand First surging above Act, placing Winston Peters comfortably into the kingmaker position he is so comfortable with.

Labour’s also moved back up into the low 30s, but still wouldn’t be in a position to form government unless party leader Chris Hipkins backtracks on his steadfast commitment not to work with Peters (who has also ruled out working with Labour).

Here are the key numbers: National is still out in front, dropping just 0.5% to 34%. Labour is up about three points to 30.3%. New Zealand First is up 2.2 points to 8.2%, while Act has fallen back into the single digits and landed on 7.9%. The Greens are relatively stable, down 0.4 points to 10.6%. Te Pāti Māori is on 1.9% and would make it back to parliament if it retains an electorate seat.

The poll asked 1,200 eligible voters for their views between October 4 and 8, during the time in which Hipkins was isolated with Covid-19. Just under 4% of those polled were undecided.

On these numbers, the left wing bloc led by Labour would be ahead of the National-led right wing bloc by one seat – 55 to 54. Neither would be able to form government without the eight seats of New Zealand First, which would suggest a three-way coalition with Christopher Luxon at the helm.

It presents for Act what Toby Manhire described as the “nightmare scenario”, with Peters moving to “the front of the negotiating queue” following Saturday’s election. Also for The Spinoff, Manhire has taken a look at the average poll results from recent weeks and stared deep into his crystal ball. Who’s in and who’s out (plus a little bit of guesswork)? Click here for more.

Tonight will see the final televised 1News poll before election night. Get out the popcorn, there are now just three days to go.