An upswing in support for ACT could see it working with National to form a Government, the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll results suggest.
Meanwhile, Labour and Jacinda Ardern continue to dip, with the party sitting at its lowest level for five years.
Despite also suffering a drop, National remains ahead on 37%, down 2 percentage points on May’s results.
Its leader Christopher Luxon fell by 3 percentage points in the preferred PM ratings to 22% and he stays behind Ardern, who also fell 3 to 30%.
ACT increased its support by 4 to 11%, back up to where it sat in January. If reflected in the election due in 2023, together ACT and National could form a Government with 62 seats.
Labour's fall to 33% (down 2) sees its support continue to dwindle, as it has done through the year.
Labour is a full 10 percentage points down from where it sat in September last year at 43%.
Internal struggles in the Greens over James Shaw's co-leadership position barely dented the party, only dropping 1 to 9%.
National: 37% (down 2)
Labour: 33% (down 2)
ACT: 11% (up 4)
Green Party: 9% (down 1)
New Zealand First: 3% (up 2)
Te Pāti Māori: 2% (steady)
The Opportunities Party (TOP): 2% (steady)
Vision New Zealand: 1% (up 1)
New Conservative: 1% (steady)
Democrats for Social Credit: 1% (up 1)
Don’t know/refused: 11% (steady)
Translated into seats in Parliament, these results would give National 48 MPs and ACT would have 14 - enough to take power.
Labour would have 44 seats, the Green Party would have 11 and Te Pāti Māori would have three (assuming Rawiri Waititi holds Waiariki). That would give those three parties 58 seats, which is not enough to form a Government.
Parliamentary seats based on poll results
National Party: 48
Labour Party: 44
ACT Party: 14
Green Party: 11
Te Pāti Māori: 3
National leader Christopher Luxon said the results show "Kiwis are over the Government and they want change".
"I think they understand this is a Government that is not good with money and not good at managing the economy - they get that and they see that. It's a big driver of what's happening here," he told 1News.
"But I'd also put to you that when we don't have our kids going to school regularly, we see a healthcare system falling apart with wait times blowing out, we see rising levels of crime, and we see housing that, actually, has been an abject failure for this Government, they look at the sum of all of those things."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the results reflected the fact times are tough in New Zealand and overseas, and that things would get better closer to summer.
"But New Zealand has advantage as well. I do look to those causes of optimism - low unemployment, low relative debt, and the fact that we have our borders, tourism coming back. Those things will give a boost - a much-needed boost to us - going forward," she said.
"There's absolutely no doubt increases in inflation are hurting New Zealanders. We have a responsibility as Government to do what we can to support them through."
ACT leader David Seymour attributed his party's "very encouraging" poll result to the fact ACT, he said, both opposed and proposed policy.
He said people were ready for a new Government.
"New Zealand needs real change. The only way to get that is a National Party Government with ACT providing the thought leadership."
Meanwhile, the Green Party's current sole co-leader Marama Davidson reflected on her party's comparatively consistent polling since the 2020 election as a sign voters like their ideas.
"I'm really clear even with the co-leader contest result from the AGM, people are still consistently supporting our stand on liveable incomes, rent controls, free public transport, ending deep-sea mining and bottom-trawling. We know we need to stay focused on that."
A Te Pāti Māori spokesperson said the results were "strong and steady" for the party, and the drive towards a centre-right Government was because of the cost of living crisis.
"But at the end of the day, this is just one poll and it’s the trend across all polls that matters. Across all polls we are trending up while National are trending down."
May's 1News Kantar Public Poll put Te Pāti Māori at the centre of building a Government. While the party had now lost that status, the spokesperson said Te Pāti Māori "was focused on what we need to do and the kaupapa that matter to our people".
"It’s kind of hard to be disappointed when [we] look at what either side has to offer right now."
Preferred Prime Minister
Jacinda Ardern: 30% (down 3)
Christopher Luxon: 22% (down 3)
David Seymour: 5% (up 2)
Winston Peters: 2% (up 1)
Chlöe Swarbrick: 1% (down 1)
Don't know: 31% (up 3)
None/refused: 4% (up 2)
Ardern maintained her 8-point lead over Opposition leader Luxon, despite both taking a 3 percentage point hit in the preferred PM rankings.
At 30%, this is a result not seen by Ardern in 1News polls since August 2017 - before she was Prime Minister.
When asked whether she thought the public had fallen out of love with her, Ardern said: "As politicians, our job is to take us through the good times and the bad."
She said she had "no plans to go anywhere" and wanted to contest the 2023 election as leader.
Luxon said he had more work to do to showcase himself in the lead-up to the election.
"I've got a lot more for the New Zealand people to get to know me over time. They know what I've done - they need to get to know who I am," he said.
"We'll have a few ups and downs. I'm not a career politician - I know how to lead and I know how to get things done."
Between July 30 and August 3, 2022, 1023 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (504) and online, using online panels (519). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. For party support and preferred Prime Minister, percentages have been rounded up or down to whole numbers. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.