New Zealand First is continuing its upward trend in recent polls with the latest Taxpayers’ Union – Curia Poll putting Winston Peters’ party at 6.9 per cent, up three percentage points on the last poll and into the kingmaker position.
National and Labour have both had small increases. National is at 35.9 per cent, up 0.9 points. Labour is on 27.9 per cent, up 1.4 points.
Act suffered a steep drop of 5.2 points to 9.1 per cent. The Green Party also dropped 2.1 points to 10.6 per cent.
On those numbers, National and Act could only muster 58 seats, down six seats from last month. NZ First’s result would give the party nine MPs in Parliament, meaning National would need to get support from Peters and NZ First to form a government.
Te Pāti Māori is on 3.7 per cent but given the party is likely to win an electorate, it would stay in Parliament.
A combination of Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori would total 53 seats. The left bloc would require NZ First to form a government - that was unlikely given Chris Hipkins and Peters have ruled out working with each other.
The only other party to register above 1 per cent in the poll was the Opportunities Party (2.9 per cent).
On the preferred Prime Minister ratings, National’s Christopher Luxon was ahead on 29 per cent, compared to Hipkins’ 27 per cent. Both had increased in popularity.
Act leader David Seymour had dropped four points in preferred PM to 4 per cent, less than former PM Jacinda Ardern (4.5 per cent).
Chlöe Swarbrick was up 1.4 points to 6.1 per cent. Peters was down 0.2 points to 4.3 per cent.
Two other polls this week placed Peters and NZ First in a position to decide the next government.
The final pre-election NZ Insight poll by Talbot Mills Research for its corporate clients had National rising to 38 per cent (up two points since the last poll a month ago) and Labour dropping again to 27 per cent (down 3).
The Greens had nudged up to 13 per cent, its highest result in the poll mid-2017. NZ First is up to 6.4 per cent from 5.4 per cent in the September poll.
Act was on 9 per cent, down one. Te Pāti Māori was at 3.1 per cent and The Opportunities Party (Top) was on 2.3 per cent.
Luxon and Hipkins were neck and neck as preferred Prime Minister on 29 per cent – Hipkins had bumped up one point, and Luxon had gone up three points.
The poll of 1027 eligible voters was taken from September 22-28 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 per cent. Talbot Mills also polls for the Labour Party.
The result would give National and Act 58 seats between them – needing NZ First’s eight seats to secure a majority.
Peters’ eight seats would also be enough for a Labour-Green-Te Pāti Māori grouping to get over the line (they would have 54 seats between them) - but that would require both Hipkins and Peters to break their promises not to work with each other.
The latest 1News Verian poll had NZ First on 6 per cent - above the 5 per cent threshold needed to enter Parliament.
The poll had National earning 46 seats and Act 13, not enough to reach a 61-seat majority.
Despite ruling out working with Labour last year, Peters has repeatedly refused to entertain questions on his preferred working arrangement with National ahead of the end of voting.
Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the NZ Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.