The Labour Party and David Shearer are growing in popularity,
new polls show, despite a leadership scuffle which
overshadowed the party's annual conference.
The first polls since the party's conference two weeks ago
showed Labour's support had not been dented by the unsettling
events of the last two weeks.
A TVNZ Colmar-Brunton poll showed Labour had risen three
percentage points to 35 per cent of the party vote, its
highest level since last year's general election.
With the support of the Greens, which rose one point to 13
per cent, Labour would hold 62 seats - enough to run
Government. National slipped one point to 44 per cent, and
would not hold enough seats even with the support of its
coalition partners the Maori Party, Act, and United Future.
A 3 News Reid Research poll also showed growing support for
Labour and its leader, but showed the Maori Party would hold
the balance of power.
National, United Future and Act would win 61 seats in a
124-seat Parliament, with Labour, Greens, and Mana gaining 60
seats. Neither coalition would run Government without the
Maori Party's three seats.
This poll indicated New Zealand First would not be elected,
even with the prospect of a lower party threshold of 4 per
National's support remained relatively steady, but its
support partners were losing popularity. It has been forced
to defend a high unemployment rate and challenges to the
country's environmental record.
Labour's conference was disrupted by MP David Cunliffe's
refusal to pledge support to Mr Shearer, and a party rule
change which made it easier for a candidate to launch a
challenge for the leadership.
But Mr Shearer also gave a stirring speech at the event, and
received unanimous support from his MPs three days later
after taking a tough stance on Mr Cunliffe and calling an
urgent caucus vote. He also made a major policy announcement,
promising that the party would build 100,000 affordable homes
in 10 years if elected.
Mr Shearer's popularity rose four points in the
Colmar-Brunton poll to 15 per cent while Mr Key slipped three
points to 39 per cent. This trend was echoed by the Reid