Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
A New Zealand Colmar Brunton poll, conducted September 17-21 from a sample of 1,008, gave Labour 48% (down five since late July), National 31% (down one), the right-wing ACT 7% (up two), the Greens 6% (up one) and NZ First 2% (steady). Labour PM Jacinda Ardern led Opposition Leader Judith Collins by 54-18 as better PM (54-20 in July).
Under New Zealand’s proportional representation system, parties must either win a single-member seat or clear the 5% threshold to be represented in parliament. NZ First, which is currently a Labour coalition partner, is unlikely to return to parliament.
Even though the Greens have 6% in this poll, they should be anxious about clearing the 5% threshold. In the past, NZ polls have overstated the Greens. ACT is far better placed as their leader holds the single-member seat of Epsom.
If these poll results were the outcome on October 17, Labour would win 62 of the 120 seats, just enough for a majority. National would win 41 seats, ACT nine and the Greens eight.
There have been two other relatively recent NZ polls. A privately conducted late August to early September UMR poll gave Labour 53%, National 29%, ACT 6.2%, NZ First 3.9% and the Greens 3.2%. A Morgan poll, conducted in August, gave Labour 48%, National 28.5%, the Greens 11.5%, ACT 6% and NZ First 2.5%.
A concern for Labour is that their vote could continue to fall. If Labour’s election vote is under 45%, they may need the Greens to clear the 5% threshold to form a Labour/Green government.