Poll: Labour could lead coalition govt, Luxon slumps in PM ratings

A new 1News Kantar Public poll shows a bump for the Green Party but a slump for National Party leader Christopher Luxon.

The poll also places Te Pāti Māori squarely in the kingmaker role again, with the numbers to secure a Labour-Green-Te Pāti Māori coalition in the Beehive with 63 seats to National and Act’s 57.

According to the poll, which surveyed 1002 eligible voters from March 4 to 8, if an election were held tomorrow, Labour would be likely to attract 36% of the party vote, and National 34%.

Those figures were down 2% and 3% respectively, and translated to 46 seats for Labour and 43 for the National Party, presuming Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi retains his seat.

That means neither party has the numbers to govern alone.

Based on the poll, Te Pāti Māori would likely secure 3% of the party vote, and providing Waititi retains his Waiariki seat, it would mean three seats in Parliament.

Looking at the minor parties, the Green Party achieved its best poll result in a year, with 11% of the party vote and 14 seats. That’s up 4% on the previous 1News Kantar Public poll at the end of January.

The Act Party’s results were a mirror image of the Greens’, meaning Te Pāti Māori, with its three seats, can reach the threshold required for a third term for Labour, with the Greens in tow.

If Te Pāti Māori do a deal with the National Party and Act - something co-leader Waititi has previously indicated as unlikely - the total 60 seats are not enough to form a government.

Battle of the Chrises

Preferred prime minister rankings will be disappointing for National’s Luxon, who plunged to 17%, a 5% drop on the last 1News Kantar Public poll.

To add insult to injury, Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins picked up almost all of those points, rising to 27%, a 4% jump on his previous result.

Act Party leader David Seymour is steady on 6%, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is up 1% to 3%, and some still hung on to former prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with the Mt Albert MP on 2%, down 3% on the last poll, which was held just after she had resigned.

Luxon has dropped 5% to 17% in the preferred prime minister rankings.

National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis was the preferred PM for 0.9% of those asked, as was Green Party and Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick.

Politicians respond

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told 1News Labour was “in this to win this”.

“I put my hand up for this job because I thought that we could not only refocus the Government on the issues that matter but go on to win the election.”

New Zealanders wanted the Government to focus on things that mattered to them, such as the cost of living, recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle and floods, he said.

He said he had received a “good reception” when meeting people around the country so far.

“I’m really pleased that people have been approachable, they’ve seen me as approachable, I think I’ve been reasonably warmly received, but I know there’s still a lot of hard work ahead of me and ahead of the Government.”

He said being leader of the opposition was a “tough gig”.

He said the Labour Party could work with the Greens but was less committal about Te Pāti Māori.

“I’ve only had a limited amount to do with them in the brief period of time that I’ve been prime minister, but I have worked with them previously in other portfolio areas.

“We’ve had a relatively constructive working relationship with the Māori Party this term.”

Hipkins said closer to the election Labour would make it clear “who we would and wouldn’t work with”.

“It’s still a little bit too early.”

National's Luxon said he did not “take too much focus” on polls and said it had been an “extraordinary start to the year” with a change of prime minister and natural disasters.

He said National had wanted to be “positive and supportive and constructive” with the Government at this time, while also acknowledging the need to hold it to account.

Luxon, who has been National leader since the end of 2021, said people knew what he’d done but not necessarily who he was.

“That’s my job over the coming year.”

He said there had been a “fantastic reaction” to National’s Family Boost policy.

On whether or not National could work with Te Pāti Māori, he said it was “way too premature” to discuss.

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said he had a good relationship with Hipkins and his party would work with any party that was “willing to create a Tiriti-centric Aotearoa”.

He said the poll result showed support for the party’s commitment to that philosophy.

“It looks like how we would treat people on the marae. We will welcome you, we will house you, we will feed you, we will care for you, we will love you.”

He said it also meant breaking down barriers for tangata whenua, and Te Pāti Māori would be working hard to win all seven Māori seats.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the poll result was “really good”.

“Our focus is on making sure we – the Greens – are in a position to shape the next Government.”

She said the Greens had “worked well with Labour” and had “similar values” to Te Pāti Māori on te Tiriti justice and the environment, but any deals post-election would be up to the Green Party membership.

Key points:

Party vote:

  • Labour = 36% (down 2% on previous 1News Kantar Public poll)
  • National = 34% (down 3%)
  • Act = 11% (up 1%)
  • Green = 11% (up 4%)
  • Te Pāti Māori = 3% (up 1.2%)
  • NZ First = 3% (up 0.8%)

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Chris Hipkins = 27% (up 4%)
  • Christopher Luxon = 17% (down 5%)
  • David Seymour = 6% (steady)
  • Winston Peters = 3% (up 1%)
  • Jacinda Ardern = 2% (down 3%)

See the full poll results and methodology here

Between March 4 and March 8, 2023, 1002 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (502) and online, using online panels (500). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. Party support percentages have been rounded up or down to whole numbers, except those less than 4.5%, which are reported to one decimal place. 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. Undecided voters, non-voters and those who refused to answer are excluded from the data on party support. The results are a snapshot in time of party support, and not a prediction.