Support for Prime Minister Helen Clark has risen but New Zealanders are much more pessimistic about the economy, according to a political poll.

A OneNews/Colmar Brunton poll last night revealed that in the preferred Prime Minister category, support for Helen Clark has risen three points to 41 per cent.

The rise came at a time when the Prime Minister was dealing with accusations that her husband, Peter Davis, was involved in helping secure a health contract for a Canadian colleague. She was also embroiled in the decision not to give former Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle her job back after questions about her enrolment in Wellington Central were left unanswered by the registrar of electors.

The poll showed support for National leader Jenny Shipley as Prime Minister dipped one percentage point to 15 while her deputy, Bill English, picked up slightly, scoring 7 per cent.


Support for the Labour Party was up one point to 46 per cent.

National was down slightly with a one-point drop to 37 per cent. The Greens scooped up the extra support with a two-point rise to sit on the 5 per cent threshold.

Half the 1000 people polled approved of the Government's performance, down just one point from the previous month.

Disapproving voters rose by four points to 35.

In terms of economic outlook, 51 per cent of New Zealanders were optimistic about the future, down nine points since the last poll. Pessimism was up seven points to 29 per cent.

The poll of randomly selected voters was carried out in the first week of April. The poll has an error rate of plus or minus 3.2 per cent.