Labour ends the year two points ahead of National in the latest poll, despite a sometimes difficult post-election period.

The Herald DigiPoll puts Labour on 43.8 per cent and National on 41.7.

Although the gap is less than the margin of error, the results will disappoint National. A TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll out earlier this week gave National, on 46 points, a nine point lead over Labour.

National leader Don Brash had hoped to begin the Christmas break at least level-pegging with Labour.

The Government has been under pressure to dampen concerns about its unusual formation, including the role of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

The poll was conducted in the last week of November and first week of December. It involved 800 people and has a margin of error of 3.5 per cent.

Cabinet minister David Benson-Pope's mishandling of the release of the police report into allegations made against him became evident in the last two days of the polling period.

NZ First is at 3.8 per cent, and the Greens are sitting on 5.3. Act and the Maori Party are on 1.5 and United Future on 1.3.

Helen Clark leads the preferred prime minister stakes on 58 points. Dr Brash sits on 25.7. National finance spokesman John Key, who has appeared in the preferred prime minister ratings since the election, scored 4.3 and Mr Peters 6.2.

Asked if the Government was heading in the right direction, 45.8 said yes and 39.1 per cent believed it wasn't. The rest either didn't know or refused to answer.