Last night’s Newshub poll had Labour on top – but only by a whisker. Asked at this afternoon’s post-cabinet press conference whether it came as a surprise given recent events such as the sacking of Stuart Nash and the defection of Meka Whaitiri, PM Chris Hipkins said it showed the government’s priorities were resonating with the public.
“I think what it says is that New Zealanders want to know the government is focused on the most important issues facing them at the moment,” Hipkins said.
Te Pāti Māori landed in the so-called “kingmaker” position in last night’s poll. Despite this, Hipkins said the minor party shouldn’t be considered part of a wider left bloc. “I think people should vote for the party they want to be in election. I am 100% campaigning for party votes for the Labour Party,” he said.
It will become clearer as the election approaches which parties best aligned with one another. “There are areas where we have shared views with the Māori Party… it may well be as it gets closer to the election that there are some areas where we don’t agree with them,” Hipkins said.
On New Zealand First and Winston Peters, Hipkins wouldn’t comment on whether he could work with them again in government.