Latest polling has underlined how support for the government has eroded almost as fast as inflation has hit New Zealand households.
Both polls have National ahead of Labour. The difference is that the Roy Morgan poll (for the fifth time in a row) points to a change of a government while the Newshub-Reid Research sampling has National only two points ahead of Labour.
This means that even with ACT’s support, the Nats are still trailing parties of the Left.
But what stands out starkly in both polls is how far Labour’s support has fallen since it swept the deck in the last election.
Equally, the polling underlines how well Christopher Luxon has done in re-energising National since he took on the leadership, despite his relative inexperience in Parliament and the critical exposure he gets in the state-subsidised mainstream media.
Here are the details of the two poll results (as reported by that expert pollster David Farrar):
- Labour 38.2% (-6.1% from February)
- National 40.5% (+9.2%)
- Greens 8.4% (-1.2%)
- ACT 6.4% (-1.6%)
- NZ First 1.7% (-0.1%)
- Maori 2.5% (+0.5%)
- TOP 0.9%
- Conservative 0.7%
- Labour 48 (-17 from election)
- National 51 (+18)
- Greens 10 (nc)
- ACT 8 (-2)
- Maori 3 (+1)
- Labour/Green 58/120
- National/ACT 59/120
- Labour/Green/Maori 61/120
- Jacinda Ardern 36.6% (-6.7%)
- David Seymour 5.1% (-2.9%)
- Christopher Luxon 23.9% (+6.1%)
- Labour 33.5% (+1.5% from March)
- National 37.5% (-0.5%)
- Greens 10.5% (nc)
- ACT 10.0% (+1.0%)
- Maori 1.5% (-0.5%)
- NZ First 2.5% (-1.5%)
- TOP 2.0% (+0.5%)
- New Conservatives 0.5% (nc)
- Labour 43 (-22 from election)
- National 49 (+16)
- Greens 13 (+3)
- ACT 13 (+3)
- Maori 2 (nc)
- Labour/Green 56/120
- National/ACT 62/120
The polling indicates that most New Zealanders don’t accept the government’s contention that the inflation they are experiencing is due almost solely to overseas factors.
The Newshub pollsters reinforce that impression with the responses they received to the question aout whether the government had done enough to address the cost of living crisis. They found that 77% or respondents believed it had not.
Wage data released by Statistics New Zealand today will have brought no comfort to the Ardern team. They show wage increases measured by the labour cost index (LCI) grew at 3 per cent in the year to the March 2022 quarter, which means wages are failing to keep up with increasing prices (up 6.9 per cent in the past year according to the consumers price index.
But Point of Order would like public opinion to be gauged on another issue which we suspect might be niggling – if not seriously troubling – some voters. That’s the pace with which the Ardern government is implementing its “partnership” and co-governance programme, regardless of the consequential corroding of democratic voting and accountability arrangements.
While the cost of living may well account for much of the rapid fading of Labour’s popularity, it seems co-governance has become a major issue not only for academics and the constitutional cognoscenti but also for the wider public. This may well have strengthened the support for ACT’s David Seymour.
Labour’s Maori caucus is likely to discourage any weakening of resolve on policies promoting partnership and co-governance. Being seen to be doing something about the economy in general and the cost of living in particular is another matter – but a challenging one.
So let’s see if Finance Minister Grant Robertson can pull some miracles out of his budget bag later this month to get Labour back on track and into public favour.