A new political poll came out yesterday, which put Labour ahead of National. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s popularity is also well ahead of out going National Party leader Bill English.
The recent poll of support for our political parties should not really come as a surprise. Despite the best attempts of the National Party to get a fix on Ms Ardern and her Labour led minority Government, Ms Ardern’s popularity is soaring just like her party’s.
At 48%, Labour’s support is the highest it has been in 15 years. It would have have enough to be able to jettison one of its minor support parties and govern with the other. In this case it would not have any choice, as on current support of just 5% the Greens would be the only one returned to Parliament. At 3% New Zealand First would not be returned to Parliament, the lowest support that the party of Winston Peters has seen in nearly a decade.
If an election were held today, these results would show a radically altered Parliament.
- LABOUR = 48%/58 seats (59 seats)
- NATIONAL = 43%/52 seats (54 seats)
- GREENS = 5%/6 seats
- ACT = 1%¹ = 1%/1 seat
¹David Seymour holds the Epsom seat, thus A.C.T. has a place in Parliament. ²Remaining seats needed to fill the 120 seat Parliament come from the party lists.
But the real pressure on Labour is still to come. The real pressure comes from the smorgasbord of issues demanding action from a Government that promised much. Issues with crime, the economy, mental health, waste, education and a host of others are ringing loudly. In a year where the rise of particular social movements – one calling for better recognition that sexual harassment is totally not okay, and the other a seemingly sudden declaration of war on single use plastic – Labour can grab an opportunity to steal a march with legislative changes or other support to shore up its base.
Labour needs to be careful though as many of the other issues are ones where normally one hears an emphasis on them from conservative parties, such as justice and the economy. Labour needs to move on one or more of these to deprive National of political oxygen. With almost daily violent crime being reported up and down the country, and an alarming level of it involving drug addled individuals wielding weapons, it is not a great look for a country that prides itself on being safe.
So, whilst Labour can take some pleasure in the results, there is much to be done and the public are hungry for action.