Newshub-Reid Research Poll: Nearly 60 percent of Kiwis back Government extending wage subsidy

The National Party is pegging all its hopes on the economy to pull back the polls.

But the Government isn't going to give up that ground easily - it's about to pivot all of its efforts there.

And the public has given them licence to spend with a majority backing an extension of the wage subsidy. The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows the public wants an extension; 59.3 percent thought the Government should extend the wage subsidy beyond three months, 28.4 percent said 'no they shouldn't' and 12.3 percent didn't know.

The Government's wage subsidy means Christchurch's Morgan and Page boutique store owner Ingrid Wyllie has kept all her staff.

"It's been a huge help - I don't think I would've survived," she said.

The wage subsidy has so far been paid to 1.6 million workers but the 12-week payment is due to run out soon.

In the Budget, the Government extended it for a further eight weeks but with stricter criteria - only to businesses that could prove their revenue had halved.

"The wage subsidy now will continue to help the likes of tourism, hospitality, and retail in particular," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

But the new rules might be too tough for retail. Spending bottomed out in the lockdown period - about a 90 percent drop off year on year but during alert level 3 we started shopping online a bit, which was a small boost.

Last week the plastic got a workout but spending was still down 26 percent on last year - not the 50 percent loss needed for Government help.

And some kiwis are wary about spending in such uncertain times. Newshub asked people how worried they were about their personal finances; 49 percent weren't worried, 24.7 percent were, 25.2 percent didn't feel strongly either way, and 1.2 percent didn't know.