Prime Minister John Key is still confident the New
Zealand public will look to National in the next election,
despite a recent surge of popularity for the Labour Party.
A TVNZ Colmar-Brunton poll, the first poll since the Labour
Party's conference two weeks ago, showed Labour's support had
not been dented by the unsettling events of the last two
Labour has risen three percentage points to 35 per cent of
the party vote, its highest level since last year's general
With the support of the Greens, which rose one point to 13
per cent, Labour would hold 62 seats - enough to form a
government if an election was held today.
Key dismissed the results as a "natural recovery" from
"They were real historic lows. I mean they had a disastrous
election in 2011 like we did in 2002 so they're really
getting that support back from New Zealand First and others,"
he told TV One's Breakfast.
He said the challenge for National was finding coalition
partners in order to stay in government.
"So for a start-off New Zealand First would go with Labour
but the question is would New Zealand First get back because
a lot of Labour voters voted New Zealand First in 2011
because they knew that their team wasn't going to get there
so they went over to the other side," he said.
Mr Key accepted that New Zealanders were frustrated when it
came to issues like unemployment.
"Internationally we are held back from those big winds, but
we have to be realistic about that.
"From our point of view, my point of view, sometimes you've
just got to do what's absolutely right. So if you take, say,
the deficit, we're going to be back in surplus by 2014 - 15."
While the 2014 election will be "tight", Key believes a
majority of New Zealanders will cast their vote for National.
"The public tend to work it out. I mean in the end I think
they'll look down the barrel of the camera at the TV One
first debate and I think they'll say 'do we want National and
whoever else, or do we want Labour, the Greens and New
Zealand First?', and I think they'll look at us."
An increase in popularity for Labour leader David Shearer has
been attributed to a stirring speech at the party's
conference, and unanimous support from his MPs three days
later after taking a tough stance on MP David Cunliffe's
leadership challenge 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