Latest poll: Labour takes the plunge as Official Cash Rate again is lifted to 3.5%

As the  Reserve  Bank  raises  the Official Cash Rate again to 3.5%,  the  eighth successive increase,with  more  to  come, in  the effort to  drive  down inflation, the  political mood has darkened, too.

A  glance   at  the  headlines  point  to  the  symptoms  why  this  is happening:  “Housing market still  firmly in retreat”, “Consumer  demand  for  personal  loans spikes as  households  feel  the  pinch”.

The  backlash  is  being  felt  in  government circles  and  is  reflected in  how  even  the  Prime  Minister Jacinda  Ardern  has  gone  to  the lengths  of  attacking  National’s  pledge to  cut  taxes, labelling  it  as  the  same  kind  of  policy  as  the UK Tory  government’s disastrous economic  package  which  sent  the  financial  markets last week into a  panic  and  has  seemingly   damaged  beyond  repair   the rule  of  new  PM  Liz  Truss.

It is perhaps not surprising that political  polls here  are  reflecting how  the  fall  in  support  for  the Ardern  government  has  steepened.  The  latest  Roy  Morgan poll, for  example,  shows  Labour’s  support plummeted 5.5 points  from its August  sampling,  and  for  the  first  time in  this  term  is  below  30 points,  at  29.5.

As  David  Farrar  says  on  Kiwiblog:

“This is the first poll to show Labour in the 20s, an extraordinary decline from the 50% they got at the election. They would lose a massive 27 MPs on this poll. They would lose every single List MP, even if they lost three electorate seats”.

Not  much   joy  there  for  Labour’s  aspiring  backbenchers,  though perhaps  a  touch  of  schadenfreude for erstwhile Labour  MP Gaurav Sharma.

While Labour’s  support  has  dropped like  a  stone, National  has  not  gained  accordingly.  It has risen only 0.5%  to  36.5. The  big improvers are ACT up  two  points   to 12.5, and  the  Greens 3.5  to  12.5.

But together the  parties  of  the  right would  have  62  seats    against  those  of  the  left  at  42,  enough  to  govern.

There is   little   doubt that  the economic  pain  inflicted  by the  cost-of-living crisis  is  taking  its  toll on the Arden government’s  credibility  as  economic managers,  while  Ardern  herself  still  shines,  particularly   while  she  is   abroad   carrying  the torch  for  NZ.

The latest  polling  suggests   that  even  she  can  do  little  to   staunch  the blood-letting  Labour  may  suffer  when  NZ next  goes  to  the  polls.

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