In May, National leader Christopher Luxon ruled-out working with Te Pāti Māori, saying that party sat firmly in the Labour-Greens camp, which he dubbed a “coalition of chaos”.
He used that phrase repeatedly to describe this left wing governing formation, as poll after poll said Labour could only govern with Te Pāti Māori’s support.
Not to be outdone, as NZ First got closer and closer to the 5 per cent threshold, Labour leader Chris Hipkins goaded National into ruling-out NZ First and Winston Peters, describing National-Act-NZ First as “a government of cuts, chaos and confusion”.
The Herald can reveal that voters are siding with Hipkins. The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll asked voters “Which potential coalition of parties do you think would be more chaotic?”.
Forty per cent said National-Act-NZ First was the most chaotic, while 35 per cent thought Labour-Green Te Pati Māori were more chaotic.
Fourteen per cent of people thought both were equally chaotic.
Women were slightly more likely than men to think National would lead the more chaotic coalition, splitting 44-35 in favour of National.
Men were more evenly split, dividing 37-35 in favour of National being the most chaotic.
Chaos seems not to have dissuaded voters from backing a right wing coalition, however. In fact, most recent polls have shown National and Act being able to govern alone, without NZ First, who Hipkins have described as “a force for instability and chaos”.
The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll put National on 35 per cent and Labour on 27 - both unchanged from the month before.
Act rose one point to 14 per cent, the Greens were also up one to 13 per cent.
Te Pāti Māori were on 3 per cent, which is no change from last month. NZ First was on 4 per cent, down two points from last month.
Curia polled 1000 people between August 31 and September 6.
Labour leader Chris Hipkins has taken responsibility for poor recent polling saying “the numbers are not where we need them to be and I accept responsibility for that”.
“We’ve got a turn-around job here to do, over the next five weeks we’ve got to get out and about, talk to New Zealanders, campaign hard and turn these numbers around - that’s exactly what we’ll be focused on doing.”
Hipkins said he accepted that there was “a mood for change”.
Thomas Coughlan is deputy political editor of the New Zealand Herald, which he joined in 2021. He previously worked for Stuff and Newsroom in their Press Gallery offices in Wellington. He started in the Press Gallery in 2018.