The latest 3 News political poll shows the Maori Party will choose the next Government, and the Greens enjoying their best result in more than five years.
The poll is not good news for National: it effectively means the National and Labour blocks are neck and neck, despite National being by far the more popular major party.
National is steady on 45.1 percent, and Labour actually drops to 37.4 percent. But the Greens are on 8.8 percent, and can be added to Labour's total.
New Zealand First has crept up to 3.5 percent, so Winston Peters cannot be ruled out making a return to Parliament. National leader John Key will be sweating - remember he has ruled working with Peters out.
The Maori Party is on 2.3 percent, but they are expected to win six, or perhaps even all seven Maori seats. ACT is on 1.7 percent, with just two MPs.
Peter Dunne's United Future is pretty unpopular, polling at 0.2 percent, as were the Progressives, on 0.1.
On this poll, Parliament would overhang to 123 seats. National would have 57 seats, ACT two, and United Future one – a total of 60 seats, and not enough to govern. In opposition Labour has 47 seats, the Greens 11 and the Progressives one – a total of 59, also not enough to govern.
Bring in the Maori Party, and they will choose who runs the country for the next three years.
As for preferred Prime Minister, it is all locked up between Key and Helen Clark at 33.6 percent each.
The Greens have pinched some of Labour's vote, and they are celebrating.
Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons had the job of planting a pear tree in a community garden under the watchful eye and helpful hands of one of her supporters.
If the tree reflects new life in the party, Fitzsimons is trampling all over Labour's vote at close to nine percent, and she is not surprised.
The leap of faith in the Greens is Labour's loss. Helen Clark knows it, and is pleading with people not to desert Labour for her future coalition partner.
"My message is please vote Labour, give us the strength," says Clark.
Both National and Labour need the Maori Party to govern.
Clark's confident she can do that, while Key just does not believe the election is this close.
With the economy the main election issue, we asked voters: Who do you trust to best manage it over the next three years?
Clark and Labour: 45.4 percent. Key and National: 45.8 percent.
The nature of MMP means National's lead over Labour gives it a false sense of security, because Clark and Labour have so many friends.
This election is tight, and the Maori Party and the Greens are growing bigger and stronger by the day.
source: newshub archive