Newshub-Reid Research poll: Te Pāti Māori says results show it's heading in 'right direction'

Te Pāti Māori says the shock defection of Labour MP Meka Whaitiri to its ranks is not the only reason for its recent surge in popularity.

The party has almost doubled in points from 1.8 percent to 3.5 percent in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, suggesting it could play kingmaker this election.

The poll comes less than a fortnight after Whaitiri announced she was switching teams.

But Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngāwera-Packer told Morning Report the numbers also reflected that the party was "heading in the right direction".

"We've been really strong on pushing GST off food which I think, particularly during this crisis of cost of living, people can relate to."

She said the party had also shown its commitment to the environment with its opposition to seabed mining and Whaitiri "coming across" and "consolidating Ikaroa-Rāwhiti" had helped to it to grow.

"I think if anything, this pivotal position we find ourselves in has been about confirming that we're heading in the right direction, not only with our actions, but with our philosophies as well."

The two main parties are nail-bitingly close in the poll, with Labour sitting at 35.9 percent, and National on 35.3 percent.

Te Pāti Māori focused on its own waka in election year

Ngāwera-Packer said the party's focus was on delivering a "Tiriti-centric Aotearoa" and it had always been transparent about that.

She would not be drawn on whether the party would prefer to be part of a coalition government or not following the general election, but said National had "absolutely nothing in common" with Te Pāti Māori.

"Our preference is to be able to work with those who are focused on those critical factors - our people, our environment and the transformational change that we believe our nation needs, certainly from tangata whenua's perspective."

National's leader Christopher Luxon has ruled out working with Te Pāti Māori post-election.

Ngāwera-Packer said National had "chosen to sort of go down a chaotic line and look at the potential of working with Winston Peters".

"Chris Luxon's now polling even lower than Judith Collins; we had nothing in common with that leadership as well so I think we just have to keep focused on our waka and what it is that we're here to contribute to the nation."