Election 2023: Political scientist surprised Labour wasn't up by more in new poll

A political scientist says she was expecting Labour's stocks to rise in new polling, but the governing party along with National instead both lost support.

On Monday, the latest TVNZ-Kantar political poll saw Labour down 2 percent and National down 3, making Te Pāti Māori (up 2 points to 3 percent) the kingmaker. 

The poll's numbers showed the left-wing Labour and Greens combined for 60 seats and right bloc National and ACT for 57, both short of the 61 needed to form a Government.

Speaking to AM on Tuesday, Victoria University political scientist Lara Greaves said all recent polls have signalled a close 2023 election.

"I was kind of expecting Labour to go up a little bit more," she said of the latest poll. "There's this effect in political science called the 'rallying around the flag' effect where the incumbent Government gets a bit of a boost whenever there's some kind of natural disaster. We saw this during COVID."

Greaves said the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle might be what's behind the boost for the Green Party, which was up 4 points to 11 percent.

"What it seems has happened is a few people have gone, 'Oh, climate change. Who's best to deal with climate change? … I'll shift to Greens.'"

Right-leaning political commentator Trish Sherson said both major parties would be hoping they haven't yet peaked.

"If you think about the first poll at the end of January when [Chris] Hipkins took over, they were up, I think, 1 percentage point on this - they've slipped back 1 in this poll.

"What the election will ultimately come down to, and what the combination around any parties will be, I'm not sure that on the Labour side - Labour/Greens and Te Pāti Māori - is really the electoral combination that Labour would want to go in with. It's not as clean.

Election 2023: Political scientist surprised Labour wasn't up by more in new poll
Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub.

"On the other side, National thankfully this election have got ACT's vote holding up really well at around 11 percent and that has been pretty consistent now since the [2020] election."

Prime Minister Hipkins on Tuesday, addressing the latest poll, told RNZ Labour would "sort out in a bit more detail the parties that we think we could work with after the election" prior to voting day in October.