Prime Minister John Key's popularity with voters has suffered as he grapples with contentious issues including asset sales, potential land sales to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin and the referral of his pre-election RadioLive show to the police.
A 3 News poll last night had Mr Key's popularity as preferred prime minister slipping to 45.8 per cent.
"I'm having to front what are some issues in which there's quite hotly held views, that's always going to have some sort of impact," he told 3 News.
Labour's new leader David Shearer debuted in the poll with 10.1 per cent in the preferred prime minister stakes, while NZ First leader Winston Peters was at 5.7 per cent. National's party support eased 3.3 points to 47.5 per cent.
Labour was up 3.4 points to 29.4. The Greens changed little at 13.3.