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New Zealand’s ruling Labor coalition has emerged victorious in a new poll, putting it closer to staying in power after the upcoming election than it has been in a year.
It is the second poll this month to show strong results for Labor or the Greens, with support for the coalition parties who rallied after the government coordinated national disaster responses, grappled with extreme weather events and announced parts of its political agenda give up focus on economic issues.
The 1News-Kantar published on Monday evening pushed the left bloc – consisting of Labor and the traditional coalition partner Greens – ahead of the right. Labor fell 2 points to 36% while the Greens rose 4 points to 11%. The centre-right National is down 3 points to 34%, while its coalition partner, the centre-right Act party, is up a point to 11%.
This outcome would render a National Act coalition unable to form a government. The Māori Party, which has previously ruled out working with Act, would hold a 3% “kingmaker” position in government.
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Labor leader Chris Hipkins was also up 4 percentage points to 27% in the list of preferred prime ministers. National’s Christopher Luxon was at 17%, down 5 percentage points.
The results came after a series of “political bonfires” from Labour, when the party’s new leader announced he would abandon a range of legislative work to focus the government on “bread-and-butter issues”, particularly the high cost of living and inflation to focus pressures. Reforms that have been scrapped or delayed this year include emission reduction policies, anti-hate speech laws, some large-scale public transportation projects, biofuel regulations, clean car incentives, a merger of public media and laws to lower the voting age. While some of these decisions fall outside the poll’s collection period, this would capture the broader reorientation of Labor to a core focus on economic relief.
The shift in support also came after Cyclone Gabrielle and may indicate a positive attitude towards the government’s disaster response to date. The growing support for the Greens could indicate that the climate crisis is a growing priority for voters as they witness the devastating damage caused by extreme weather events.
Curia polls in early March also showed strong results for Labor and Hipkins, with Labor taking the lead over National for the first time in almost a year. Hipkins’ personal likeability score was also strong at 33%, compared to -2% for his colleague Luxon.