ACT is being forced to step back as National voters head home. ACT has dropped 3 percentage points to 11% of the party vote, while National has gone up 4pp, in the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll.
“The National party appear to have jettisoned their toxicity,” ACT leader David Seymour said.
It’s not a major concern for either party though, as what is good for National will be good for ACT. The pair know where the real scrap lies.
“The real challenge is closing the gap between ACT and National on one side and Labour and the Greens on the other,” Seymour said.
It's a six point gap with National and ACT, but add in the Māori Party and that takes it down to four.
While National, ACT, and Te Pāti Māori have all worked together in the past to form a government, the question now is whether they would do it again.
“At this time - ah no,” Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said.
He says their values don’t align.
“I've listened to many speeches given by Christopher Luxon and he seems to be Judith Collins without the wig,” Waititi said.
Meanwhile ACT wants Te Pāti Māori gone completely.
“Our goal is to be in government and for them to be out of Parliament,” Seymour said.
“Fortunately it's not up to David what happens with Te Paati Māori,” Waititi said.
The Green Party may be steady in support at 9% of the party vote, however, they have been rather quiet.
“We've got to prioritise making sure our voice gets out wider, deeper and further, and faster,” Green co-leader Marama Davidson said.
Last year, the Green Party issued around 200 media releases, compared with ACT's more than 800, raising questions about whether they are hustling enough.
“Well, that's clearly something that we need to look at,” Davidson said.
For months last year, the Green Party forced three of its top-performing MPs to stay away from Parliament due to Covid-19.
“I am not going to back down from that collective wellbeing approach,” Davidson said.
As for how ACT hopes it'll close the gap alongside National - it's all about Covid-19.
“I would not underestimate how many New Zealanders are thinking about freedom and responsibility and the government gets increasingly out of hand,” Seymour said.
Between January 22 to 26, 2022, 1000 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (500) and online (500). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. For party support and preferred Prime Minister, percentages have been rounded up or down to whole numbers. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.