Candidates confident after poll surge

By Sonya Bateson

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180814awbop
180814awbop

Local candidates for New Zealand First and the Conservatives are riding a wave of confidence after a new poll showed support for their parties had surged.

The same poll showed National and Labour had stumbled.

The 3 News-Reid Research Poll was conducted in the week after the fallout from Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics and showed big increases in support for New Zealand First, the Conservatives and the Green Party.

Labour was down 2.6 per cent to 26.4 per cent and National was at 45 per cent, a 2.5 per cent drop.

Political commentator Grant Duncan told the Bay of Plenty Times he believed Dirty Politics had had a huge impact on recent poll results. The latest indicated NZ First or the Conservatives could hold the balance of power.

"The votes are not going from National to Labour, but to the minor parties, who would support National anyway," he said. It was too early to say which minor party could end up calling the shots in forming a Government.

"If things keep going in this direction it could be the election for the minor parties."

Conservative Bay of Plenty candidate Deborah Cunliffe was excited and said it confirmed what the party knew, that there was a big build-up of public opinion towards the Conservatives locally and nationally.

"People are getting behind us, which confirms our suspicions. HQ told us that we're getting 100 new people a day joining the party. It's almost a given now that we will get that 5 per cent, it's just a case of how high we will go."

New Zealand First Tauranga candidate Clayton Mitchell said his party was now in a strong position: "We are now in a position to negotiate with National and get what we are after and that is what is best for New Zealand."

He said it was clear the smaller parties held some power in this election but NZ First had ruled out working with the Conservatives.

"The only parties we won't work with are ones with race-based policies and the Conservatives have those policies."

He felt the increase in NZ First's poll results was not from fallout from the Dirty Politics book, but all about campaigning.

Green Party Tauranga candidate Dr Ian McLean said the results reflected campaigners' work. While it was great to see support grow, he hoped it was not at the cost of potential coalition partner Labour.

National Bay of Plenty candidate Todd Muller said he always knew the election would be tight.

"We have to fight for every vote both in the Bay of Plenty and nationally. Polls bounce around ... it doesn't surprise me to see some volatility."

Conservative leader Colin Craig was "very happy" with his party's result and did not think it was due to Dirty Politics fallout.

"I've always said on a good day we'll get double figures, but realistically I think we'll get 7 per cent."

His preference in any post-election talks would be to go with National.

Labour Tauranga candidate Dr Rachel Jones said the party still felt positive. Meeting people on the street gave her the feeling there was a lot of support for Labour and for a change in government. There appeared to be many undecided voters. Additional reporting APNZ

- Bay of Plenty Times

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