Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has gone into bat for NZ First leader Winston Peters after a poll found 59 per cent of voters did not trust him.
The 1News Colmar Brunton poll asked voters whether they trusted the leaders of each political party.
Eight-two per cent of those polled said they trusted Ardern – but Peters got the lowest trust score of any of the political leaders, with just 34 per cent saying they trusted him and 59 per cent saying they did not.
But Ardern backed her Deputy Prime Minister, saying she would not have been able to run the coalition Government if she did not have a trusting relationship with him.
"Of course I have to have a trusting relationship in order to work with the Deputy Prime Minister, and both NZ First and the Greens," Ardern said.
"I could not be Prime Minister in a coalition government if I didn't have trusting relationships with the leaders I work with, and I believe we've achieved a lot."
Ardern said it was up to voters to draw their own conclusions about Peters.
"I can only speak from my personal experiences and my personal relationships. We all have different perspectives."
Ardern has said she will not set out pre-election which her preferred governing partners would be if Labour gets back into Government, or whether she would want to try to keep both NZ First and the Green Party on board even if she did not need one to govern.
National Party leader Judith Collins has said the party's decision to rule out governing with NZ First after the election still stands.
NZ First is still struggling in the polls just seven weeks before the election and was at 2 per cent in this week's Colmar Brunton poll.
Among other leaders, 48 per cent trusted Act leader David Seymour, 47 per cent trusted Collins, and Green co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson got 47 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
The poll of 1004 eligible voters was taken from July 25 to 29 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.
It had Labour on 53 per cent and National down six points on 32 per cent in the first Colmar Brunton poll under Judith Collins' leadership.
Collins told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking she was not concerned and voters would return to National again as the economy turned to "custard."
"It's only two weeks in [for my leadership]," Collins said. "I think people are saying at least Judith gets on with the job and that's what you want."
In recent weeks, NZ First has moved to distinguish itself more from the other Government parties, including arguing against the closure of Tiwai Point and refusing to sign up to an economic package Labour wanted to put forward in Southland to help the region prepare for that closure.
There have also been wars of words between Peters and Green Party co-leader James Shaw. The most recent was after the Green Party supported National MP David Carter's member's bill to repeal the waka-jumping legislation.
The Green Party was required to support the passing of the waka-jumping legislation in 2017 because it was part of NZ First's coalition agreement.
It deals with situations where a List MP quits or is ejected from their party but wants to stay on in Parliament as an independent MP.