Newshub-Reid Research poll results: Kiwis don't believe Government is focused on issues that matter to them

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows the public believes the Government has lost interest in the issues that matter. 

But there's something else requiring Labour's urgent attention, an outlandish allegation of a $20 billion hole in the Government books. It's a claim the Government is calling farcical.

While he was fascinated by a bike lock on Thursday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is also attempting to crack the code to unlocking his political potential.

"I think I may have just broken [it]", he said.

Hipkins busting it and Labour may have bottled it. 

As an alarm rung out from the bike lock, Hipkins said: "It's probably a sign that I've messed it up."

Ministers were out boasting their public housing record.

But they're haunted by the skeletons frequently falling out of the closet and putting the public off the party.

"We’ve been through a bit of a storm in recent times, both literally and figuratively," said Hipkins. 

If Labour can’t pull it together, there will be a mass exodus of Labour MPs come October 14. 

"People do come and go," said Labour MP Rachel Boyack.

Labour's Shanan Halbert said he isn't worried about losing his job.

"Politics is a funny beast, isn't it?" said Sarah Pallett.

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge," said Ingrid Leary. 

It doesn’t take much to pinpoint the problem, its focus has been off. 

Hipkins said he believes Labour is "absolutely" focused on issues that matter to New Zealanders.

Well, the public doesn’t. 

In the latest Newshub Reid Research poll we asked, do you think the Government is focused on the issues that matter to you?

A resounding 62.1 percent said no, while just 29.8 percent said yes.

"I've said right from the beginning that the cost of living is one of the most important issues facing New Zealanders and that's been front and centre," said Hipkins. 

He's been trying desperately to talk about bread and butter, and his beloved meat-filled pastries.

But he's instead been served up allegations the Government's cooked the books 

"Those reports are just totally and utterly false," said Hipkins. 

Winston Peters is claiming the Government's books have a $20 billion hole and public service bosses have been called into crisis meetings to be told to find dramatic cost savings and make dramatic cuts.

"That is a complete misrepresentation, yesterday I met with public service chief executives to discuss our fiscal sustainability and effectiveness programme which we announced in the Budget," said Grant Robertson.

National leader Christopher Luxon said the "books have been blown apart". 

"Chris [Hipkins] and Grant [Robertson] have to front the New Zealand people today and actually say what the state of those books are," said Luxon. 

But Robertson denies losing control of the books. 

"The idea that we are trying to fill a massive hole is just farcical," said Hipkins. 

If his fiscals are that farcical though, his prime ministership could be heading down the drain.

Jenna Lynch Analysis

Twenty billion dollars sounds frankly ridiculous and almost certainly is.

The latest Crown accounts showed the Government took in about $2 billion less in tax than expected. For that to blow out tenfold in four months would be extraordinary - and absolutely devastating for the Government.

The kernel of truth in the yarn is these meetings. It's really problematic that the public service is leaking because it adds potential false credibility to the claims.

Robertson admits he's been drilling the public service to find savings - that's about one thing. When the Treasury does the pre-election opening of the books, he needs there to be a forecast surplus and he is fiercely protective of his claim to it. 

Economic credibility could not be more crucial in a cost of living election.