Te Pāti Māori could be the power broker and get to decide who gets in at the next election, 1News political editor Jessica Mutch McKay says.
Her comments come after the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll revealed National has overtaken Labour in party support for the first time since the pandemic, with Labour dipping to its lowest result since 2017.
It comes after a turbulent few weeks, with the Parliament protest ending with violence, thousands of New Zealanders being impacted by the Omicron outbreak, while overseas, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a humanitarian crisis.
The poll also saw Christopher Luxon reach the highest preferred PM result for a National leader since Sir Bill English, while Jacinda Ardern, still out in front, has dropped once again to her lowest preferred PM result since before she became prime minister.
McKay told Breakfast on Friday the poll, a "very close and very tight" snapshot, is "really interesting".
She said the poll gives National a chance to effectively get back in the game.
"I think what we're going to see is this real jockeying over the next year-and-a-half."
McKay explained at the moment the Greens and Labour is "basically the same" as National and Act.
She went on to say: "I think we'll see that sort of two-horse race going until 2023 and what that does of course is put Te Pāti Māori in a really interesting position because on our numbers they would be the power broker and get to decide who gets in. So they then become suddenly the most popular party in Parliament at the lunch table in Copperfields because people may need them after the election.
"This suddenly means that they have a lot of power in the political world."
Co-leader Rawiri Waititi told 1News yesterday that should his party be in a position to choose the next government, they would have to ensure the party "that we go with have to ensure they align with our policies and our values. Unfortunately in the past, National have not in the last leadership with Judith Collins".
"I haven't seen much change since Christopher Luxon."
Waititi said Te Pāti Māori’s "total focus" would be on "who is aligning to creating a Te Tiriti-centric Aotearoa".