Labour broke a record for its highest poll result ever over the weekend, but party leader and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she won’t be complacent in the lead up to September’s election, especially as she deals with spats with coalition partners.
Newshub’s Reid Research poll last night had Labour on 60.9 per cent, up 4.4 points.
Meanwhile, National dropped 5.5 points to 25.1 per cent.
The Greens were on 5.7 percent, ACT on 3.3 per cent and New Zealand First on two per cent.
When asked about the poll result on TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning, Ms Ardern said she tended to focus on trends over numbers.
“What I’d like to think is we’re seeing in some of those trends, a general confidence from the public around the Government’s response to Covid and our recovery plans.
“I’m also not at all complacent. In fact, things can change very quickly in politics and so it is about us working every single day to earn the support of New Zealanders.”
However, not all is running smoothly in Government.
Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First – one of the Government’s coalition partners – recently described the past three years in politics as the worst in his experience.
Mr Peters, whose party has halted several of the Government’s projects throughout the term, also described the Government he was part of as inexperienced.
“Is he willfully being a pain in the butt? Is he being obstructive for the sake of brand identity in the election? And how are you going to deal with him?” Breakfast host John Campbell asked the Prime Minister.
“It’s election year, and I think that’s probably the best answer I can give,” Ms Ardern responded.
“Having worked with the Deputy Prime Minister over the last three years, nothing we have done have we been able to do without consensus so we do work constructively. We’ve achieved an enormous amount – I, for one, am very proud of that.
“Yes, I’ll be campaigning as the leader of the Labour Party but it doesn’t mean that I will be doing anything to diminish the record that I think we can proudly stand on as a Government.”
However, it wasn’t just with New Zealand First that tensions have arose.
Labour MP Helen White, who is contesting the Auckland Central seat against Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick, dismissed her as “a celebrity politician”.
Campbell asked if it was an appropriate description of Ms Swarbrick, who he described as a “young and fairly impressive politician”.
“That’s certainly not how I would describe any of the colleagues I work with in the Green Party,” Mr Ardern said.
“However, just to give a bit of context for Helen, obviously she’s been in a tight race against her National Party counterpart in Auckland Central or some time and that has been a very close race.
“I think Helen’s right to point out that strategically it’s the candidate who’s come closest to taking out National where they have the most likely opportunity to succeed in the future.”
It comes after National’s Nikki Kaye, who had beaten Mr Adrern twice in the past when she contested the seat, announced she was to retire from politics.
However, Ms Ardern has said before she won’t have a sweetheart deal with the Green Party for the seat.
“Ultimately, voters will make their own decisions, so yes, you’ve seen in the past areas where people have made suggestions around how to strategically vote. Voters will vote how they feel comfortable voting,” she said this morning.
“There are thousands and thousands of votes between where Helen was and where the last Green Party candidate was. Helen has come very close with the National Party opponent so, again, I don’t think there’s anything to suggest that that strategically is a good option for anyone in that seat.”
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