National has overtaken Labour in party support for the first time since the pandemic, with Labour dipping to its lowest result since 2017, the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll reveals.
It comes after a turbulent few weeks, with the Parliament protest ending with violence, thousands of New Zealanders being impacted by the Omicron outbreak, while overseas, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a humanitarian crisis.
Christopher Luxon has reached the highest preferred PM result for a National leader since Sir Bill English, while Jacinda Ardern, still out in front, has dropped once again to her lowest preferred PM result since before she became Prime Minister.
National: 39% (up 7 percentage points)
Labour: 37% (down 3pp)
Green Party: 9% (steady)
ACT: 8% (down 3pp)
Te Pāti Māori: 2% (steady)
New Zealand First: 2% (steady)
The Opportunities Party (TOP): 1% (down 1pp)
New Conservative: 1% (steady)
Don’t know/refused: 10%
*Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding. For party support, percentages have been rounded up or down to whole numbers.
National last scored ahead of Labour in party support in February 2020.
In this latest poll, National clawed up to 39%, while Labour dropped just behind to 37%.
Luxon said the results reflected "what New Zealanders are feeling… which is they're in the middle of a cost of living crisis".
"They have a sense the Government doesn't really have a plan and it certainly doesn't have any solutions, and hopefully they're getting a sense from National we are strong economic managers and we do have ideas on how to take them forward."
In response to the results, Ardern said that Labour was "aware for some time this is a really tough" period for New Zealanders.
"There is no question, this is one of the hardest moments New Zealand has been through in many years. We are in the peak of the pandemic, we have a global energy shock which everyone is feeling in New Zealand as a result of the war and we have Covid-related inflation, and families are feeling it.
"We know we need to respond to that and that's why from the 1st of April you'll see 60% of families see an increase in their income because of changes we're making," Ardern said, giving examples such as the Winter Energy Payment and increases to the minimum wage.
The Green Party remains steady at 9% and has positioned itself as the third highest-polling party after ACT fell another 3pp, down to 8%.
The results reflected in Parliament seat entitlement would see National with 49, Labour with 47, Greens with 11, ACT on 10 and Te Pāti Māori with 3 seats (assuming Rawiri Waititi holds the seat of Waiariki).
That would mean, should National and ACT come together on 59, and Labour and Green Party come together with 58, Te Pāti Māori's three seats would hold the balance of power.
If the results were to be reflected at the election, Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the party "that we go with have to ensure they align with our policies and our values. Unfortunately in the past, National have not in the last leadership with Judith Collins".
"I haven't seen much change since Christopher Luxon."
He said Te Pāti Māori’s "total focus" would be on "who is aligning to creating a Te Tiriti-centric Aotearoa".
Luxon, while still behind Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, has surged to the highest preferred PM ranking for a National leader at 25%, since Sir Bill English in 2017.
Ardern, nine points ahead of Luxon at 34%, scored her lowest preferred PM result since September 2017, prior to becoming Prime Minister when she received 31%.
She dropped to 35% in January 2022 poll, which at the time was the lowest since September 16-19, 2017.
Jacinda Ardern: 34% (down 1pp)
Christopher Luxon: 25% (up 8pp)
David Seymour: 5% (down 1pp)
Winston Peters: 2% (up 1pp)
Don't know: 27% (down 1pp)
None/refused: 2% (down 2pp)
The 1News Kantar Public Poll also asked, 'If you could only choose between Jacinda Ardern and Christopher Luxon, who would you prefer as Prime Minister?', with Ardern and Luxon's names read in a reversed order for half of the respondents.
There was only a 1% difference between the pair – with 46% choosing Ardern and 45% choosing Luxon. Ten per cent did not know or refused to answer.
Choosing between Ardern and Luxon for Prime Minister?
Jacinda Ardern: 46%
Christopher Luxon: 45%
Don’t know/Refused: 10%
*Percentages do not add to 100% due to rounding
More likely than average to want Ardern as Prime Minister were Labour and Green supporters, people with a household income of up to $30,000/year, Wellington region residents, Māori and Pacific peoples and women aged 35-55.
Those who were more likely than average to want Luxon as PM were National and ACT supporters, people with a household income of more than $70K/year and Aucklanders.
Between March 5-8, 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.