New Zealand’s opposition National party has taken a baby step forward, but Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party remains supreme in the latest political opinion poll.
The Newshub Reid Research poll, published on Monday ahead of the first sitting week of the year, has Labour on 44 per cent, up two per cent from the last poll, undertaken in November.
Replicated in parliamentary seats, on those numbers Labour would lose its majority but govern in partnership with the Greens.
“I am pleased to see that continuing show of confidence,” Ms Ardern told Newshub.
“For me, poll results like that are a sign of people’s confidence in our (COVID-19) plan.”
National has switched leaders since that last poll, with Judith Collins resigning after a botched power play, allowing first-term MP Chris Luxon to take the helm.
Mr Luxon has improved their fortunes, polling 31 per cent support, up four, while recording a higher preferred prime minister result than Ms Collins ever did.
Mr Luxon was the preferred leader of 15 per cent of Kiwis, still well behind Ms Ardern on an imperious 43.3 per cent.
“I’m new to parliament, I’m new as leader. It’s a big job interview I guess for the next year and half before the election,” Mr Luxon said.
“It’s positive and encouraging, (but) we’ve got a lot of work to go.”
Right-wing libertarians ACT were the big losers in the poll, dropping eight per cent of support to be on eight.
Left-wingers the Greens grew by two per cent to be on 10 per cent.
Newshub political editor Jenna Lynch said Labour may have benefitted from the government’s border reopening announcement last Thursday.
“Despite a shocker start to the year with the arrival of Omicron the government is still riding its pandemic popularity wave. The border announcement this week has likely saved Labour from what could have been a very different poll result,” she said.
“Christopher Luxon seems to have turned the Titanic around for National. Centre right voters are heading home from their fling with the ACT party.”
Latest NZ political poll
Labour – 44.3 per cent (up 1.6 per cent)
National – 31.3 (up 4.4)
ACT – 8 (down 8)
Greens – 9.6 (up 2.4)
Maori Party – 2.0 (steady).
Jacinda Ardern (Labour) – 43.3 per cent (up 1.6)
Chris Luxon (National) – 17.8 (up 15.3)
David Seymour (ACT) – 7.9 (down 4).