New Zealand’s Labour party sees boost in polls after Ardern resignation | New Zealand
New Zealand’s Labor Party has seen a boost in its popularity following the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, according to two new polls, in some of the party’s best results in a year.
The polls, released on Monday night, are the first taken in the wake of Ardern’s shock exit, and show a surge in support for both the party and new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who took office last week and immediately faced catastrophic flooding. in New Zealand’s largest city.
In the 1 News Kantar poll, the Labor Party gained five percentage points, with 38% – one point ahead of the centre-right National party, and Labour’s best result since January 2022. Another poll, conducted by Newshub-Reid Research , also showed Labor at 38%, more than 5.7 points.
The polls were conducted before the floods in Auckland and therefore do not capture New Zealanders’ assessment of the government’s handling of the crisis. A state of emergency remains in place in Auckland, where floodwaters have killed at least four people, displaced hundreds, and seen houses swept off their foundations or destroyed by landslides.
A “honeymoon bump” of a few points is fairly common for new political leaders in New Zealand, and the news of Ardern’s resignation and replacement guaranteed Hipkins high levels of media coverage and name recognition.
However, the Newshub-Reid Research poll indicated that Hipkins – who is known to New Zealanders as the face of the country’s Covid response – also won a level of confidence that his opponent, former business manager Christopher Luxon, struggled with to fit.
When asked if they trusted both major party leaders, 52.9% of voters said they trusted Hipkins, while 26.9% did not trust him. Just 36.9% said they trusted Luxon, compared to 43.8% who said they did not. Kantar’s poll also put Hipkins ahead of his opponent on overall approval. The prime minister’s approval rating was 46%, compared to a disapproval rating of 10%. Luxon’s approval rating was 43%, but he faced much higher disapproval, at 34%.
Hipkins told Newshub that trust “matters a lot to me”.
“I’ve always tried to be upfront with New Zealanders and I’ve always found a good level of support comes from that.”
Luxon said the result was “not unexpected – a new leader gets a bounce at the polls.”
“My job over the next year is to make sure that people understand that they can trust me,” he said.
Hipkins’ promise to “refocus” the government on the economy and the cost of living crisis may have also moved the needle. While economic confidence remains low, voters were more optimistic about New Zealand’s economic prospects than they were at the end of last year, with 28% saying they believed the economy would improve in the next 12 months, up from 18 % at the end of 2022.
Even with the most recent boost in voting, however, Labor would face a narrow path to re-election, with the latest results predicting an extremely close vote in October. With the right-wing libertarian Act party polling at around 10%, and the left-wing Green party at 7-8%, the traditional right bloc will sit at around 47%, and the left at 46% – which balances power with the Māori party.