Jacinda Ardern’s Labor Party continues to fall in popularity as New Zealand looks forward to a worsening cost of living crisis.
New polls show that the center-right National Party is in the lead for Labor, although a Labor-led coalition will still have a good chance of running for government. The Newshub-Reid research survey Labor dropped 6.1 points to 38.2% from the last poll in February, and the National – by 9.2 points to 40.5%.
Ardern’s personal popularity also fell 7% to 36.3%. Remaining behind Ardern, national leader Christopher Luxon rose 23.9% in the prime minister’s privileged stakes, up 6.1%. This is Ardern’s lowest result in Reed’s poll since she became prime minister in 2017, and the best result for a national leader since the election. The latest poll is in line with other results this year. In March A TVNZ / Kantor poll found that the National overtook Labor – albeit with a smaller margin – for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
These results mean a return to the usual regime for New Zealand, which has usually relied on the development of multi-party coalition governments rather than one-party rule. The last election, in which Labor received enough votes to govern on its own, was a deviation from the norm – due to Ardern’s personal popularity and huge support. government response to COVID-19.
Now New Zealand’s attention has turned from Covid’s response to growing challenges inflation and the cost of living. In April, annual inflation reached a 30-year high of 6.9%, and in March food prices rose by 7.6% over the previous year. Despite the government’s tax breaks on gasoline, gasoline prices have risen due to the effects of the war in Ukraine. The cost of housing and rent remains a concern: the average rent has risen by 7% year on year, while high prices still do not allow many buyers who are visiting the housing market for the first time.
Ardern told Newshub that the results reflect a difficult time for the country. “It’s been a really tough time for New Zealand, and of course by default it makes it a tough time to manage,” she said. “Difficult decisions will be made from time to time, and if that means we’re going to have a little impact on the numbers as long as we stick to all the decisions we’ve made – and we’re making – then that’s the price we’re willing to pay.”
National Party leader Christopher Luxan, who led the party this year, told the New Zealand Herald the results were the result of widespread dissatisfaction among New Zealanders. “Why this is happening, the public just feels that this is a government in which everything revolves, does not bring and does not bring to an end,” he said.
According to current figures, both major parties will seek coalition options outside of their traditional partners. On the right, the Libertarian Party Act occupies 6.4%, and on the left – the Greens – 8.4%. If elections take place tomorrow, the left and right blocs cannot form a government with only one coalition partner. Both will be looking for Te Pati Māori – the Maori party – to overcome them with its 2.5%.
The next election is scheduled for January 2024.