Hipkins hoists Labour’s election chances but not quite enough to rule

By Deborah LaHatte

Labour has regained the lead in the Taxpayers' Union political poll for the first time since March last year – but it wouldn’t have enough MPs to form a government on the numbers.

New Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ net favourability has risen to 33% in the poll, held from March 2 to March 7. His announced plans to go for “bread and butter” issues, and dumping controversial policies, plus the government handling of floods and cyclones are likely to have been responsible for the rise.

That favourability is wider than expected since he even gained a positive rating of 13% from National voters. 

The survey, conducted by Curia Market Research, has Labour up 1.1 points on last month at 35.5%, while National increased just 0.4 points to 34.8%. 

Act and the Greens each dropped a little over two points to 9.3% and 5.7%, respectively.

These results would give Labour the most seats in Parliament but would probably see National and Act in coalition to form a government.

 Luxon languishes

National and Act combined would have 61 seats, while the other three parties would have just 59. This is based on all electorate seats being held, which is uncertain and that NZ First does not return to Parliament, which is also uncertain given it rated 4.2% in this poll.

However, NZ First leader Winston Peter is not expected to approve another coalition with Labour and the Greens given his recent criticism of the present government.

Other parties were New Conservatives on 2.5%, TOP on 1.7%, Māori Party 1.4%, Vision NZ 0.8% and Democracy NZ 0.5%.

National leader Christopher Luxon’s net favourability increased by three points but he is at only -2%. 

The sample size was 1000 eligible New Zealand voters – 800 by phone and 200 by online panel – weighted to reflect the overall voting adult population in terms of gender, age, and area.