UMR poll: Why New Zealand First got a bump and how Winston Peters could return in 2023 - Jenny Marcroft

A former New Zealand First MP says party leader Winston Peters can't be counted out of returning to Parliament in 2023, if a new poll is anything to go by.

The UMR poll, which came out on Monday, 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 numbers are similar to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, which was taken at about the same time - around the end of July. 

Former NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft says Peters shouldn't be forgotten about when it comes to Election 2023.

"With Winston, you never count him out, and basically, this could be the political phoenix coming back for the three-peat in 2023," she told The Hui on Monday.

"But it's certainly sooner than one would expect, because normally inside a political cycle, New Zealand First will dip through the middle of the cycle in terms of the polls and then slowly rise as you come towards a general election."

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

It 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.

Jenny Marcroft.
Jenny Marcroft. Photo credit: The Hui

Marcroft attributes the rise in NZ First's numbers to people recognising the party was a "very effective, stable coalition partner" in the last term of Government.

"Maybe there is a sentiment that they're missing Winston from that political discourse at the moment," she says.

"He's just done his first press release over the weekend, and so it's the first time he's held his head above the political parapet."

On Sunday, Peters blasted the Government's "inexcusably slow" COVID-19 vaccine rollout amid concerns an outbreak of the Delta variant would be a "chilling result" for the country. He fears a lack of action could spell bad news and it is already "too late" to achieve the herd immunisation levels needed to battle the strain.

He's also previously spoken out on allegations the Government broke its word over re-entering Pike River - something he is fighting to prove in court.