Katie Nimon has her nose in front in Napier, but a lot of undecided voters remain up for grabs.
The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll of the Napier electorate was released on Tuesday night, with National Party candidate Nimon garnering 37 per cent of the candidate vote.
The seat is currently held by Labour’s Stuart Nash but, due to his imminent retirement from politics, Mark Hutchinson is now the Labour nominee. Hutchinson polled at 28 per cent, with 18 per cent of the polled voters undecided.
The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia contacted 5000 Napier electorate residents at random, with 400 agreeing to participate in the poll.
Twenty-five per cent of those polled say they will give their party vote to National in October’s general election. Labour polled at 20 per cent, with 23 per cent undecided.
The main Napier candidates met for a televised debate at The Puketapu Hotel on Tuesday night, which included Hutchinson.
He initially declined the invitation to join the broadcast, which was organised by the Taxpayers’ Union and The Working Group podcast, citing it as a “beltway thing”.
Hutchinson had a change of heart on Tuesday morning, joining Nimon and Laurie Turnbull of New Zealand First and Act’s Pawel Milewski onstage with hosts Martyn Bradbury and Damien Grant.
“Debate organisers reached out to me and gave assurances that the Taxpayers’ Union had no role in shaping the format or questions,” Hutchinson said.
He’d said his initial decision had been largely a “rejection” of the union’s “polarising” political tactics.
“I was satisfied by those assurances and will go along tonight to make the case for Labour and highlight the contrast between our vision for New Zealand and that being offered by National, Act and New Zealand First.”
Hutchinson’s stance won’t have harmed his name recognition, which was among the other questions in the poll.
Fifty-three per cent of those polled could name Nimon as the National candidate, with 38 per cent able to identify who is standing for Labour.
The poll also delved into local topics, with 21 per cent of respondents saying cyclone recovery was the biggest issue facing the Napier electorate.
Thirty per cent said the Government’s cyclone response has been good, 29 per cent average and 30 per cent poor.
Law and order, at 19 per cent, ranked as the next-biggest issue for Napier voters.
Participants were also asked to give an opinion on speed limits along State Highway 2 and State Highway 5. Forty-one per cent say they support the reduction in the limit, while 48 per cent do not.
Hamish Bidwell joined Hawke’s Bay Today in 2022 and works out of the Hastings newsroom.