Political commentator says PM Jacinda Ardern has her work cut out for her this year despite glowing poll results

A political commentator says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has her work cut out for her this year despite another glowing poll result. 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows Ardern's popularity is unwavering with 43.3 percent in the preferred Prime Minister ranking, up 1.6 points. 

But Opposition leader Christopher Luxon has burst onto the scene with 17.8 percent - not a bad show for his first poll as leader. 

And while Ardern's popularity seems unfaltering, political commentator Trish Sherson told AM it will be a hard year to be Prime Minister. 

Sherson said the poll result was good for Labour but that doesn't mean they can afford to relax. 

"There are any number of issues now that whenever you get the Prime Minister on that's what she's going to be facing, those scandals and trying to sort of dance around them," she said on Tuesday. 

"There's an old saying in New Zealand that being the Opposition leader is the worst job in politics. I don't think that's the case this year, actually, I think being the Prime Minister is going to be really tough."

It comes after the Government faced mounting criticism over the managed isolation and quarantine system as well as rapid antigen tests. 

But they haven't seemed to dent Ardern's approval rate with 58.4 percent of people believing she's performing well, up 1.5 points on her last result. That compares to 30 percent who think she's not doing a good job - down 2.2 points from her last result.

Additionally, a small proportion of Kiwis, 10.5 percent, think she's neither doing well or poorly.

Newshub National Correspondent Patrick Gower told AM Labour's results are "remarkable". 

"Considering those decisions around the Auckland lockdown and to mandate vaccinations - those are some of the biggest and most controversial decisions a New Zealand Prime Minister will ever make [and it] just goes to show one thing in my mind, yes there's a lot of noise out there… but there's a whole lot of people in this country who have got through this pandemic with two pretty short lockdowns and are now staring down what might be the final act of it with a booster shot in their arm, and they're quite thankful for Jacinda Ardern," Gower said. 

The poll results also show Kiwis are split over whether the Government is handling the Omicron outbreak well. 

When asked, do you think the Government has prepared well enough for an Omicron outbreak? 44.5 percent said yes while 44.3 percent said no. 

The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between 22 January – 4 February 2022 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.