Parliament has wrapped for the year and our politicians are on their summer breaks, and it will likely be the only respite they get before the election campaigning gets underway in 2023.
While there is no election date yet, all parties are gearing up for a battle next year, as the polls show the National-Act bloc surging ahead of Labour and the Greens, suggesting a tough battle for Jacinda Ardern’s Government to stay in power.
Speaking to the NZ Herald’s politics podcast, On the Tiles, freelance journalist and former political reporter Henry Cooke told Thomas Coughlan that the easy assumption at the moment is that National’s Chris Luxon will be prime minister by this time next year, but people forget that the polls were wrong in 2020.
“The polls were kind of pretty wrong on the left last time. The polls said Labour was gonna win, Labour won, so the polls were right, but they actually were, in many cases, like three or four points down on what Labour actually got on the night.
“I would caution anyone for making large decisions based on the idea that the Government was changing next year at this point.”
Coughlan agreed that the signs are in National and Act’s favour, particularly the economic situation continues to worsen over the next year, but noted that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been pushing back harder since the Labour Party conference in November, and the election campaign will truly test how she and Luxon compare to one another.
“I think Luxon will probably do better than people think he will do in the debates, mainly because I think when you watch an incumbent, particularly in those early debates, trying to defend a pretty difficult situation, and you have a challenger like Luxon who is pretty gaffe prone, that’s for sure, but it’s pretty easy to articulate a case for why things aren’t great right now.
“But I think Ardern, when she’s back to a corner, will do a pretty good job of fighting him off.”
One thing that harms them both is that neither party leader is standing out as more popular than the other, with Ardern on 29 per cent and Luxon on 23 per cent in the latest One News Kantar poll - meaning a battle of the policy will be a big part of the election.
So which MPs performed the best in 2022, who stumbled over the last 12 months, and how could reshuffles and policy announcements shake up the race before election day?
Listen to the full podcast above for more on the political winners and losers, where Labour dropped the ball, why Chris Luxon doesn’t want to be ‘David Seymour’s poodle’, and if the rugby will set our polling date.