New Zealand Opposition Slumps in Poll Before Leadership Showdown
(Bloomberg) -- Support for New Zealand’s main opposition National Party has slumped in an opinion poll a day before its MPs are due to vote in a leadership showdown.
National had 29% support in the 1News/Colmar Brunton poll published on Thursday, down from 46% in February and 44% at the 2017 election. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party had 59% support, up from 41% in February, meaning it could form a government alone, the poll showed.
The poll is an ominous sign for National leader Simon Bridges, whose position is being contested in a caucus ballot tomorrow. A Reid Research/Newshub poll published earlier this week, which had National on 31% support, sparked a challenge to Bridges from agriculture spokesman Todd Muller.
Muller claims the party has no chance of winning the Sept. 19 election unless it ditches Bridges and his deputy Paula Bennett, local media have reported, citing an email he wrote to National MPs. Nikki Kaye, who has twice defeated Ardern in the Auckland Central electorate, would be Muller’s deputy, according to Radio New Zealand.
Ardern’s popularity has soared during the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s poll shows she remains the country’s preferred prime minister by a wide margin, with 63% support compared to just 5% for Bridges.
Labour ally the Green Party had 4.7% support, while National ally the ACT Party had 2%. The populist New Zealand First Party, currently in coalition with Labour, had 3%. Parties need to reach 5% support or win an electorate seat to get into parliament under New Zealand’s proportional representation system.
The poll was conducted May 16-20 and has a margin or error of 3.1 percentage points.
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