WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Jacinda Ardern’s governing Labor party has taken a hit in the latest political poll in New Zealand, though the Prime Minister’s personal popularity remains strong.
In the Newshub-Reid Research poll, Labor leads opposition party National 43 percent to 29.
Labor’s result is down ten points from the last poll, taken in May, and if produced on election day, would mean Ardern would rely on support from the Greens (polling nine percent, up to one) to govern.
The biggest repercussion from the poll may land on the political right.
Right-wing libertarian outfit ACT New Zealand has surged to poll a record 11 percent, up by four percent.
Their leader, clean-cut, on-message, and stunt-friendly David Seymour, has also jumped ahead of opposition leader Judith Collins.
Asked who would prefer to be prime minister and make a better leader, Seymour out-polled Collins on both fronts.
Embarrassingly for Collins, Seymour also outpolled her among supporters of her own party.
“I’m not worried about minor parties,” said Collins a week out from her party’s national conference.
Collins’ National lost the 2020 poll convincingly, and few observers of Kiwi politics see her time in the leadership lasting until the 2023 election.
The lack of an obvious replacement for the 62-year-old, and a lack of appetite for the job during Ardern’s dominant leadership, has prevented a spill so far.
The Newshub-Reid Research poll is one of two authoritative public pollsters in New Zealand.
“Labor has hit hurdle after political hurdle, and it’s hurt badly, in the latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll,” states the report.
“But National and Judith Collins would not be cracking the champagne; they do not even make the podium because an old ally has become her greatest threat. The poll results show Labor’s ironlike grip on Parliament has been unclenched. It no longer governs alone on 43 percent, plunging a decisive 9.7 points.”
The Māori Party is leading the minor parties on 1.9 percent, up 0.7 points.
“This poll is a watershed moment. It represents a couple of consequential political pivot points,” states the report.
“Labor is wounded, albeit self-inflicted, but while National would traditionally benefit from this, it’s a mess.”
New Zealand law requires elections at least once every three years and two months, though elections are often held three years, traditionally in November. New Zealanders elect their Members of Parliament with two votes.
The first vote is for a candidate from an electorate (electoral district). The 53rd Parliament has 120 seats, of which 72 were filled by electorate Members of Parliament, with the remaining 48 filled by list Members of Parliament according to each party’s share of the vote.
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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