If replicated at the election, a new poll out today has National and Act taking 60 seats and NZ First over the 5% threshold. 60 seats aren’t enough to govern and the right bloc would need further support, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.
New poll has National and Act on the cusp and NZ First on 6%
A new The Post/Freshwater poll out this morning has Labour at its lowest poll result in six years. The poll has National on 36%, Labour on 26%, the Greens on 12%, ACT on 11%, and Te Pāti Māori on 3%. NZ First is on 6%, which I think is its highest poll result this year. The poll was conducted between August 28-30, meaning it doesn’t capture National releasing its tax policy or Labour releasing its dental policy. The margin of error is approximately +/ – 3%. As with all polls, it represents a snapshot in time. Toting up the seats each block would get if these results were replicated at the election, National and Act would have 60 seats with Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori would have 53. NZ First would have seven seats. As we know Labour leader Chris Hipkins ruled working with NZ First last month. As Andrea Vance notes, to ensure a comfortable majority and avoid NZ First blocking legislation from the cross benches, National would need to strike a deal with NZ First.
One in five voters are undecided
As Luke Malpass writes in The Post this morning, the race is far from over. Quoting Mike Turner, director of the polling company Freshwater, “Labour are down, but not out quite yet.” “The election result remains uncertain while almost 300,000 Ardern 2020 supporters continue to make up their mind,” he said. The poll found that Hipkins holds a small lead as preferred PM, at 45%. Luxon is on 43%. The poll also found around one in five voters are undecided or ‘’soft” in their voting intention. Hikpins leads over Luxon among “soft voters” as preferred prime minister, on 48%. As Newsroom’s Matthew Scott reports, former prime minister Helen Clark offered Labour some advice last night at the launch of Helen White’s campaign for the Mt Albert seat, saying “We’re just in a totally silly season, but in a silly season we have to keep our heads and we have to keep to our core messages.” There was also a dig at Chris Bishop’s mention of his own “inveterate” Twitter posting habits in a TV news story, with Clark suggesting “they show Chris Bishop on TV some more.”
National’s sloppiness this week
The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan thinks National has had a rough week (paywalled) and needs to “sharpen up” on discipline “lest National begin to be seen as the political wing of the country’s vested interests.” He cites the cosy email exchanges between health spokesperson Shane Reti and University of Waikato vice chancellor Neil Quigley. He also cites Bishop’s handling of issues around the Winton subdivision in South Auckland. Winton director-shareholders Chris and Michaela Meehan recently donated to National and Act. The third “not quite strike”, with Coughlan noting none of these incidents are “terminal”, is the apparent proximity of SkyCity to National’s policy to regulate and tax online gambling.
Luxon tested on Act policy
While this poll presents a scenario where negotiation with NZ First will be likely, Newshub’s Lloyd Burr put questions to Christopher Luxon yesterday about the National party’s position on around ten different Act policies. Burr notes that coalition negotiations between Act and National could get testy, suggesting a gulf is growing between the two on policy. David Seymour has been saying Act would reject the baubles of office rather than implement bad policy for a while now. Thankfully now that Policy.nz is up and running you can check out how potential coalition partner policies align for yourself.