A new NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll has given very different results on the question of who voters trust more out of National or Labour to manage Covid-19, to keep it out and to rebuild the economy - the most critical questions of the 2020 election.
A strong majority of voters back Labour over National to manage the Covid-19 response and keep Covid-19 out of New Zealand - but National has an edge when it comes to rebuilding the economy.
In the latest NZ Herald-Kantar Vote 2020 poll, 58 per cent of voters said they trusted Labour more than National to manage the response to Covid-19 – while only 24 per cent trusted National.
Fifty-seven per cent also said they trusted Labour more to keep Covid-19 out of the country – a strong endorsement of the Government's handling of the second outbreak of the virus since early August.
However, National had a slight lead when it came to who was trusted to rebuild the economy: 43 per cent chose National while 39 per cent chose Labour.
Seven per cent said neither party was, and 11 per cent did not know.
'It's basically Covid hangover'
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Kate Hawkesby this morning, Collins said New Zealanders had become used to seeing the PM standing up every day to talk about Covid and it was very difficult for then National leader, Simon Bridges, to get out a message.
"I think it's just basically Covid hangover, really.
"And I think most people will now be working out that the economy is what they should really be worried about, because we've actually got a plan on Covid and we've got a plan on the border - which, clearly, we still don't have from the Government."
Asked whether it was a relief to see National do well in regards to dealing with the economy - given finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith's mistake of using out-of-date figures for its fiscal plan - she laughed.
"Everyone makes a mistake - particularly with a budget."
Referring to Finance Minister Grant Robertson, she said: "[He] ... has been very busy trying to pick holes in Paul Goldsmith's fiscal plan. But actually, Grant Robertson doesn't actually have one.
"I think people can see through that."
The management of Covid-19 and the economic "rebuild" are defining issues in the election campaign and the results show National has a long way to go to secure trust on Covid-19.
Its results for "trust" on handling Covid-19 are lower than the 33 per cent the party is polling at in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, while Labour's are higher than its 47 per cent result in that poll.
The online survey of 1000 eligible voters in the Consumerlink panel was taken from September 23 to 26, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and Collins are set to cross swords for the second leaders' debate of the election campaign on Newshub tonight.
Ardern has been campaigning on stability, urging voters not to put progress at risk by changing the government and pointing to New Zealand's relatively strong position compared to many other countries.
Collins has been trying to turn voters' minds to the future of the economy, rather than Labour's handling of the Covid-19 outbreaks. She has been pushing home National's record in rebuilding the economy after the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
The survey started a week after National announced its tax cuts plan and released its fiscal strategy.
A few days later Labour's Robertson revealed a $4 billion fiscal 'hole' in National's books – a mistake National has conceded, but said made little difference to its overall plan.
Collins has acknowledged Ardern's successful handling of the first wave of Covid-19 but questioned the adequacy of border safeguards after the second outbreak, and the need for lengthy country-wide restrictions rather than Auckland only.
Collins has announced plans for one border agency to oversee travel, managed isolation and quarantine, but the poll shows she is yet to persuade voters that she would be able to meet her promise to keep Covid-19 out.
Trust in Labour's handling of the response was especially high among women voters – 63 per cent chose Labour while only 21 per cent chose National. By comparison, 53 per cent of men chose Labour and 28 per cent National.
On the question of the economic recovery, 48 per cent of men chose National and 38 per cent of women. National also did best among Auckland voters – 50 per cent chose National, as did 55 per cent of those earning more than $100,000. Labour did best among Wellington voters (46 per cent) and those on low incomes (51 per cent).