The 2020 election will be nail-bitingly close and the winner may hinge on which of the minor parties can win an electorate seat, according to the latest political poll.
Released tonight, the 1News Colmar Brunton poll has the National Party on 46 per cent, neck and neck with the Labour-Green block, with Labour on 41 per cent and the Green Party on 5 per cent.
Neither New Zealand First nor Act would return to Parliament without winning an electorate, as both parties polled below the 5 per cent threshold.
National would win the Treasury benches with the support of Act, on 2 per cent, if Act leader David Seymour kept his electorate seat of Epsom.
That would give 61 seats to National (59) and Act (2), a two-seat majority over Labour (52) and the Greens (7).
But with NZ First on 3 per cent, the Labour-Green-NZ First block would pull in front if NZ First won a seat.
NZ First MP Shane Jones, who has never won an electorate seat, has announced his intention to stand in Northland, a seat currently held by National MP Matt King.
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The Māori Party and the New Conservative Party were both on 1 per cent, while 17 per cent were undecided or refused to say how they would vote.
The poll was conducted from February 8 to 12 and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.
Compared to the last 1News Colmar Brunton poll, released in December, National and Act were steady, Labour was up 2 percentage points, the Greens were down 2 percentage points, and NZ First was down 1 percentage point.
Tonight's results were similar to the latest Newshub Reid Research poll, released on Sunday, which had National on 43.3 per cent, Labour on 42.5 per cent, the Greens on 5.6 per cent, NZ First 3.6 per cent and Act on 1.8 per cent.
In that poll, Labour and the Greens would be able to form a Government with 62 seats over National and Act's 58 seats, assuming Seymour kept Epsom and NZ First failed to win a seat.
Tonight's poll saw Labour leader Jacinda Ardern increase her commanding lead over National leader Simon Bridges in the preferred PM stakes; Ardern was on 42 per cent (up 6 percentage points) while Bridges was on 11 per cent (up 1 percentage point).
National MP Judith Collins (3 per cent) and NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (3 per cent) also featured in the preferred PM race.
Forty per cent (up 4 percentage points) were optimistic about the economy, more than the 34 per cent (down 1 percentage point) who said they were pessimistic.
The poll followed the Government's $12 billion infrastructure announcement last month, events at Waitangi, the Government's handling of coronavirus, the furore over Radio NZ's Concert programme, and the referral of the New Zealand First Foundation to the police and then the Serious Fraud Office.
Bridges also announced that he would not work with NZ First after September's vote.