Labour leader Andrew Little says he remains determined to fight but has confirmed he met with senior colleagues last week and raised the issue of whether he should stand down because "I thought it was a valid option to consider."
News Little raised the proposal came as the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll put Labour at just 24 per cent - its lowest results in the poll's history since it began in the 1990s.
Little told One News he had raised it with colleagues who had said they believed he should stay on.
He told the Herald last night "late last week I raised it with senior colleagues because I thought it was a valid option to consider."
"We all realise we are in this fight together. We're satisfied with the priorities we are campaigning on and the campaign strategy. I remain totally determined to fight."
Little's leadership has come under intense scrutiny after he failed to get traction in the polls and Labour started slipping from the 30s. He has also faced comparisons with his deputy leader Jacinda Ardern, who quickly overtook him in the preferred Prime Minister stakes.
However, there has as yet been little appetite to replace Little so close to an election. Labour's leadership rules allow caucus to elect a new leader itself rather than put it to the membership vote if the job comes up within three months of an election.
He would not reveal who the colleagues were, but it is likely they included Ardern, Phil Twyford and Grant Robertson.
In other results, National was holding steady on 47 per cent and NZ First was steady on 11 per cent. The Opportunities Party had made further gains - up one to two per cent and the Maori Party was on one per cent.
Little referred to the party's polling at the launch of Labour's campaign for the Maori seats in Mangere today, telling supporters the polling had been "a bit rough".
"And I get that. But I look at what the Labour Party stands for, what we've spent the last three years talking about - our kaupapa. And it is a strong kaupapa."
He urged supporters to keep that message uppermost in their minds and to campaign hard.
Little admitted there would be a credibility issue if Labour's election night result was that low, even if it could form a Government with the Green Party and NZ First.
He told the Herald he was not giving up.
"The result is naturally disappointing. A tough fight just got tougher."
He said the things Labour stood for could not happen unless the Government changed "and only party can guarantee that, and that's Labour."
In the preferred Prime Minister stakes, National's Bill English was up two to 28 per cent, NZ First leader Winston Peters was down one on 10 per cent and Little up one to six per cent, on level pegging with his deputy Jacinda Ardern.
The poll of just over 1000 eligible voters was taken from July 22-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent.