NZ election 2020: Jacinda Ardern reveals the unlikely coalition voters are suggesting to her

If Labour finds itself needing the support of a minor party to form the next Government, there's one it won't be turning to - old foes National.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Monday she gets the "odd letter" urging Labour and National to set aside their differences and team up as a 'grand coalition'.

Former National leader Simon Bridges suggested it as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, before New Zealand went into lockdown and successfully stamped it out. 

With the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showing National's support going the way of COVID-19, Ardern was asked on The AM Show if she'd consider throwing them a lifeline.

"Speaking of minor parties," said host Duncan Garner, "would you consider, say, National as a coalition partner?"

Ardern smiled and shook her head, appearing somewhat taken aback by the suggestion.

"The grand coalition? It's... well, no," she stuttered, before putting her serious face back on.

"I think it's fair to say there are some very, very divergent views between National and Labour. Nor would I see the reason to do that. 

"I get the odd letter about it, but I don't think it's something the New Zealand public are crying out for. We do have very different ideas." 

Ardern on The AM Show.
Ardern on The AM Show. Photo credit: The AM Show

National briefly suspended campaigning in the early days of the lockdown, but by April was harshly criticising the Government's response to the pandemic.

In recent months National has said while the health response was successful, it's better placed to handle the economic recovery. 

The last time New Zealand had a grand coalition in power was the 1930s, during the Great Depression. TOP leader Geoff Simmons in a 2017 blog post said National and Labour are the closest two parties in Parliament in terms of policy, and a grand coalition between them might not even be that bad of an idea if it keeps "far-right ACT and regressive NZ First out of the picture".

Sunday night's Newshub-Reid Research poll suggested Labour would have enough MPs to govern alone, should it wish - not needing the help of any minor party, let alone National. 

Associate Finance Minister David Parker on Friday said they wouldn't work with National, but were fine with the Greens and NZ First. Ardern on Monday refused to say whether she'd prefer the Greens or NZ First.

National is continuing to rule out NZ First, former leader Simon Bridges on Friday calling him "scurrilous". Its other potential coalition partner ACT is polling well by its standards, bringing in four MPs on Sunday's poll result. 

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