More voters think that New Zealand First should make any coalition decisions on the basis of policies it can get rather than going with the biggest party, but not by much.

Just 35 per cent in the latest Herald ZB Kantar TNS poll believe that if New Zealand First has the power to decide which party leads the next Government, it should go with the party with the most seats. And 38 per cent believe it should go with the party that gives it the most policies regardless of size - 27 per cent were not sure.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has previously said he would talk first to the party with the largest number of seats but only in the first instance.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has said she would talk in the first instance to the Green Party, although it was not a pledge to begin negotiations.


All governments under MMP have been led by the party with the largest number of seats, which is one of the reasons Labour and the Greens attempted to work more as a bloc under a Memorandum of Understanding.

But there is no requirement for the largest party to lead the Government. The Government must be formed by parties which between them can command the majority of the seats in Parliament on confidence and supply issues, such as passing the Budget.

While most polls this term have had New Zealand First holding the balance of power and able to put National or Labour into Government, in the last Colmar Brunton poll in which National polled 39 per cent to Labour's 43 per cent, National would not have been able to form a Government alone with New Zealand First.

However, Labour had more options. It would comfortably have been able to form a coalition majority Government with New Zealand First, without needing the Green Party's support. But it would also have been able to form a Government with the Greens and the Maori Party, without New Zealand First.

Last night's Newshub Reid-Research poll put National well in front at 47.3 per cent to Labour's 37.8 per cent. The Kantar TNS poll of 1000 respondents was conducted from August 30 to September 4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent. It is an online survey by ConsumerLink which runs on the Fly Buys panel of 120,000 active members, one of the largest in New Zealand. Sampling is nationally representative and is then post-weighted by age, gender and region.