Labour leader Phil Goff says Prime Minister John Key is a good politician, but he believes the public will tire of him.

Journalists quizzed Mr Goff today over the latest polls that showed National retaining high levels of support.

The TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll put National support on 54 per cent and Labour on 33 per cent.

A series of polls over the past year have recorded National with around a 20 percentage point lead over Labour.

TVNZ did not broadcast details of the poll, but it is usually of 1000 people with a margin of error of 3.5 per cent.

The lack of change in public sentiment follows the Government raising the prospect of lifting GST to fund personal tax cuts, opening up some protected areas of the conservation estate to mining and reopening debate about ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

Prime Minister John Key remained the preferred person to hold the job with 48 per cent support while only 8 per cent supported Mr Goff.

The Labour leader said there had been a positive trend for Labour, but it would take time to eat into National's lead.

"I think we are seeing a lift in Labour obviously from where we were last year. There has been a steady increase in Labour in the poll of polls (a rolling average of polls). It takes time, you have to be patient in opposition, but more and more we are seeing... that a lot of New Zealanders feel that New Zealand is on the wrong track," Mr Goff said.

"There is a lagged effect, people first of all think that the Government is not on the right track then they start to re-examine their voting allegiance after that."

Labour had managed to maintain its political base from the last election and there was no question over his leadership.

The reality was that Mr Key was popular at the moment, he said.

"John Key is a very good politician, very slick, very professional in what he does, very good at photo opportunities... In the end reality catches up and becomes more important than perception," Mr Goff said.

"I am happy to give credit where credit is due. He is a good politician at getting a media opportunity and at political spin, they poll every week and say in their statements what they think the public wants to hear, that works for a while but in the end that doesn't tackle the real problems."

Mr Goff pointed to his predecessor Helen Clark who rode out very low polling and unpopularity to win three elections and become very popular.

- NZPA