New Zealand First on verge of political comeback in UMR poll as Labour slips

A new poll shows New Zealand First on the verge of a political comeback as it edges close to the 5 percent mark, while National and ACT are also on the rise. 

The UMR poll shows Labour on 43 percent down 5 points, National on 28 percent up 4 points, ACT on 13 percent up 2 points, the Greens on 7 percent down 1 point, NZ First on 4.4 percent down 0.6 and the Māori Party on 1.7 percent up 0.2. 

The results are from the New Zealand Insight poll for UMR's corporate clients. The numbers are similar to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, which was taken at about the same time around the end of July. 

The UMR numbers seem to reflect pressure Labour was facing at the time, with polling taken shortly after the "howl of a protest" which saw farmers and tradies take to the streets complaining about the impact of the Government's rural policies. 

The polling was also taken after NZ First leader Winston Peters announced his political comeback in a fiery speech to supporters, which may be the reason his party is close to the 5 percent mark required to make it back into Parliament. 

ACT's popularity is reflected in the poll too, with it gaining 13 percent - it's highest ever UMR result. ACT also achieved a record 11.1 percent in Newshub's poll. Together, with National also rising, the right-wing block is nipping at the left's heels. 

But despite the drop for Labour and the Greens making only a slight gain, they still have a combined 51 percent in this poll - more than National and ACT's 41 percent. 

UMR also does separate internal polling for Labour, which seems to have caused some confusion on social media, after rumours circulated the results had been leaked, purportedly showing Labour below 40 percent and National in the 30s. 

Those results have not been confirmed. It appears those figures were initially passed on by the man behind the #TurnArdern campaign

The New Zealand Insight poll shows Jacinda Ardern is still by far the most preferred Prime Minister, riding high on 50 percent, followed by ACT leader David Seymour on 14 percent, and National's Judith Collins on 11 percent. 

Collins told rural radio station The Country last week that she was "sick and tired" of leadership speculation. 

"I'm actually sick and tired of people talking about me and who is going to be the leader of the National Party. I'm the leader of the National Party. Why don't they just get their heads around that and get on with the job?"

The closest National Party contender to Collins in UMR's poll was former Air New Zealand chief executive Christhoper Luxon, the MP for Botany, on 2.1 percent as preferred Prime Minister. 

The poll results also show 63 percent of Kiwis believe the Government is doing a good job with its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with only 14 percent saying it was poor. But it's a drop from 78 percent last year. 

Last week the Government announced plans to start slowly opening up New Zealand to the world from next year, and that every Kiwi will be able to book a vaccine from September.