Election 2023: Path to power still possible for Labour, political commentator Lara Greaves says

While recent polling shows election 2023 is on a knife edge, the latest Government scandal means it's the right bloc's to lose, some commentators believe.  

But anything can happen between now and October and a path to power is still possible for Labour, says political scientist Lara Greaves.

The latest ministerial scandal within the incumbent Government's ranks came after now-former Justice Minister Kiri Allan was charged with careless use of a motor vehicle and refusing to accompany a police officer following a crash in Wellington on Sunday night.

But Greaves, from Victoria University, said the election was still anybody's race.

She told AM while Labour's latest ministerial mishap wasn't a good look, a lot could happen in 80 days.

"There's actually still quite a lot of voters that haven't made their minds up and they will over these next… 12 weeks so there's still a lot of road to run, and there's still a lot of things that could happen on either side," Greaves said.

"I would just remind people… a lot of voters still haven't made their minds up, at all."

However, right-leaning political commentator Trish Sherson believed Labour was in dire straits.

The party had lost some key things ahead of the election, she told AM host Ryan Bridge.

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: Newshub.

"They've lost momentum and now they don't have the experience in Cabinet or with ministers to get out and sell policies on the campaign trail," Sherson said. "It's very serious for Labour.

"Chris Hipkins has lost a minister, on average, about once every seven weeks since he became the Prime Minister and let's put Kiri Allan to one side - because the focus now really needs to turn to Chris Hipkins… [On Monday morning] he looked absolutely shocked and shaken by what had happened. By the afternoon, he looked grumpy and frustrated - it's very hard to see how he's going to regain credibility as Prime Minister."

Hipkins admitted Labour had dealt with some recent challenges.

"We'll be working hard over the next 80 days to earn the right to continue to govern the country," the Prime Minister told AM. "We'll be putting forward, I think, a very ambitious and optimistic view of New Zealand's future with some exciting things that I think people will see reflect the sort of future that we want as a country," he added.

Since Hipkins took over as Prime Minister following Jacinda Ardern's resignation earlier this year and before Allan's resignation, Stuart Nash was sacked for sharing confidential Cabinet information; Meka Whaitiri abandoned Hipkins' Labour Party for Te Pāti Māori; Michael Wood was forced to resign as a minister after failing to declare conflicts of interest; and Education Minister Jan Tinetti was ordered by the Privileges Committee to apologise to Parliament for negligence.