Kiwis unsure on Luxon five months out from NZ election
A poll has confirmed New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' personal edge over rival Chris Luxon, five months out from election day.
The Reid Research poll published by Newshub has put Labour in front of the centre-right opposition National by just 0.6 per cent.
On the results, the left bloc of Labour (35.9 per cent), the Greens (8.1) and the Maori Party (3.5) would claim 61 seats in parliament, compared with 59 seats from the right bloc of National (35.3) and ACT (10.8).
Labour general secretary Rob Salmond said the numbers showed the October 14 election would be "an absolute squeaker".
While there's little between the two major parties or the likely coalitions, a gap is opening between the country's choices for prime minister.
Mr Hipkins is the top pick, with 23.4 per cent (up 3.8), while Mr Luxon's personal favourability is shrinking, down 2.4 per cent to 16.4.
Mr Luxon's result is his worst in 36 public polls since he became opposition leader in late 2021.
It is also lower than previous leader Judith Collins in her last poll before the 2020 election, when National crashed to its worst result in almost two decades.
Mr Luxon, a former Air New Zealand chief executive who rose to the party's leadership in his first term as an MP, is failing to take off with Kiwis.
Newshu polled on whether the leaders were seen as "in touch or out of touch with the issues facing New Zealanders today".
Mr Hipkins was seen by 50 per cent in touch and 36 per cent out of touch for a net positive ranking of 14 per cent.
Despite his protestations, Mr Luxon was 10 per cent in the negative, with 37 per cent in touch and 47 per cent out of touch
"I don't think I am," he told Newshub.
"I'm really in touch with what's going on in New Zealand."
Newshub also polled on whether the two choices for PM were doing a good job.
Again, Mr Hipkins came out on top, with 56 agreeing and 18 disagreeing for a net positive of 34 per cent.
Mr Luxon's results were mixed: 36 per cent say he's doing a good job but 35 per cent don't think so.
Last week, Mr Luxon made one of the most consequential political calls of his tenure, saying he couldn't work with the Maori Party, ruling them out of a National-led coalition.
Mr Luxon hopes that will yield a political dividend among voters that see the left-wing party as too radical.
On the numbers in Sunday night's poll, it would be the factor that sends National into a third term in opposition.
The Maori Party scored 3.5 per cent - doubling their result in the last Newshub-Reid Research poll taken in January.
That puts them on track for five MPs, which would mean with its support, Labour and the Greens would be back in office.
There is still time for Mr Luxon's strategy to resonate with Kiwis, and he is giving it every chance by declaring Labour and the minor parties would form a "coalition of chaos".
Mr Hipkins tried out a countering line, that National would lead a "coalition of cuts", a reference to the two right-leaning parties plans to reel in government spending.
LATEST NZ POLL RESULTS
* Labour - 35.9 per cent (down 2.1)
* National - 35.3 (down 1.3)
* ACT - 10.8 (up 0.1)
* Greens - 8.1 (steady)
* Maori - 3.5 (up 1.7)
* NZ First - 3 (up 0.8)
* TOP - 2 (up 0.5)
PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER
* Chris Hipkins (Labour) - 23.4 per cent (up 3.8)
* Chis Luxon (National) - 16.4 (down 2.4)
* Jacinda Ardern (Labour) - 8.5 (down 3.9)
* David Seymour (ACT) - 7.5 (down 0.5)
* Winston Peters (NZ First) - 3.6 (up 0.7)
* Chloe Swarbrick (Greens) - 2.3