National’s Tauranga candidate Sam Uffindell is ahead of Labour’s Jan Tinetti in the lead up to the electorate’s by-election, the latest Q+A Kantar Public Poll shows.

National Party 's Tauranga candidate Sam Uffindell.National Party ‘s Tauranga candidate Sam Uffindell. (Source: Supplied)

Eligible Tauranga voters were asked which candidate, if any, they will vote for as their local MP in the by-election, which is to be held on June 18.

Q+A with Jack Tame revealed that of those polled, 45% backed National’s new candidate Sam Uffindell, 35% said they would vote for Labour MP Jan Tinetti, while 7% were behind ACT’s Cameron Luxton.

NZ Outdoors & Freedom Party candidate Sue Grey had 3%, as did New Nation Party candidate Andrew Hollis.

Thirteen per cent did not know who they would vote for next week, 4% refused to answer and 6% did not plan to vote. That made up almost a quarter of those polled.

Aside from National supporters, the group of people more likely than average (45%) to vote for Uffindell were men aged 55 and over (68%). And, aside from Labour supporters, those more likely than average (35%) to vote for Tinetti were people with an annual household income up to $30,000 (49%) and women (42%).

It comes after Simon Bridges retired from Parliamentearlier this year.

In the 2020 election, Bridges beat Tinetti by 1856 votes, only behind by about 4% overall – while the electorate swung in behind Labour with party support of 42% to National’s 32.5%. It was a large shift for the electorate. In 2017, Bridges had a lead of more than 11,000 votes, while National held 53.6% support to Labour’s 26.7%.

Uffindell was announced as National’s Tauranga candidate in May. He works at Rabobank where he leads the financial crime unit. He also owns an agribusiness in Bay of Plenty. He moved to the region last year.

Tinetti is the current Internal Affairs and Minister for Women, and is former primary school principal. She entered Parliament in 2017 and battled breast cancer in 2019.

Advance voting for the Tauranga electorate opened earlier this month.

In the run up to the by-election, Te Pāti Māori announced it would not stand a candidate due to threats and hate speech coming from some Tauranga residents. Winston Peters, who previously held the seat under NZ First, as an independent and under National, ended speculation last month by announcing he would not run. Tania Tapsell, who many had tipped to run for the National candidacy, announced last month she would be in the race for Rotorua mayoralty.

Between May 31 to June 8, 2022, 500 eligible Tauranga electorate voters were polled face-to-face (220) and online (280). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±4.4%-points at the 95% confidence level. Results higher and lower than 50% have a smaller sampling error. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender and ethnic identification in the Tauranga electorate. The online sample is collected using an online panel.