'Us and the Greens': Labour MP hints at new left-wing coalition as NZ First tank in the polls

A Labour MP has started talking up "us and the Greens" as the potential next Government, after another poll suggested New Zealand First won't make it back into Parliament.

The current governing coalition is Labour and NZ First, with the Greens offering confidence and supply but shut out of Cabinet.

But Winston Peters' party is struggling in the polls. Last month's Newshub-Reid Research poll had NZ First on 2.7 percent, down 0.9 percent, and Thursday's Colmar Brunton poll had the party on 2 percent, down 1 percent. Both drops are just within the margin of error, so unlikely to be an anomaly. 

Without an electorate win, on these results NZ First would be bundled out of Parliament for the second time in its history. 

Both polls have Labour well in control - in the latest they're on 50 percent, giving them 62 seats - enough to govern alone. National on 38 percent would get 47 seats, well short of what's needed even if its potential coalition partner ACT got four, as Colmar Brunton suggests. 

"We never get that excited about polls because we know the only poll that counts is the one on election day," National MP Judith Collins told The AM Show on Friday.

"But we are very pleased with the great progress that's going on, and we've just got to keep on working hard."

Labour's Willie Jackson, appearing with Collins on The AM Show, said it's a "good poll for the Government", even though it would see NZ First kicked out of power. 

"We're 15 percent ahead. Just remember when you look at the poll, look at us and the Greens - 56 percent."

Labour has never had a coalition with the Greens. Under Helen Clark, Labour formed coalitions with the Alliance and its spinoff, the Progressive Party - while it received confidence and supply support from the Greens, a formal coalition was never formed. 

The Greens and New Zealand First have a fractured relationship. Greens co-leader James Shaw has accused NZ First of breaking their coalition agreement with Labour by forcing the axing of plans to install light rail in Auckland. 

"I do find it ironic that a party that has been using the cover of the sanctity of contract law to protect property investors from small businesses can't even uphold its coalition agreement," Shaw said. "I think that any party should be mindful about that going into Government next term."

Judith Collins and Willie Jackson.
Judith Collins and Willie Jackson. Photo credit: The AM Show

Jackson pointed out that just weeks before winning the 2017 election, Labour was on 24 percent - so wouldn't write National off.

"I don't go crazy on polls. I never get too confident. It's a good poll, isn't it?"

National was up 9 percent on Colmar Brunton's previous polling, following Todd Muller's successful leadership challenge against Simon Bridges. 

NZ First shouldn't be written off either - the party typically underperforms in polls compared to their showing on election day.