NZ First could hold balance of power

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
New Zealand First would hold the balance power if the results of the first major political poll of the year were translated to an election result.

Under the 3 News Reid Research poll out tonight, the left bloc of parties, Labour, the Greens, and Mana, would have 56 seats and the right bloc, National, Act, United Future, the Conservatives and the Maori Party would have 61 seats.

New Zealand First with seven seats would decide the Government.

Even if the Maori Party went with Labour, New Zealand First would decide.

New Zealand First makes it just over the five per cent threshold, at 5.7 per cent, up 1.5 points.

The party fluctuates around the threshold in various polls.

It polled 3.9 per cent in the December Herald-DigiPoll survey.

Like most other major polls, the results in the TV3 poll make some assumptions about electorate seats won.

It assumes that that Act, United Future and the Conservatives win an electorate seat and that the Maori Party wins two electorate seats.

The poll shows National down by about two points, and Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First up.

Prime Minister John Key is preferred Prime Minister by 39 per cent of respondents, down 1.9 per cent.

Labour leader David Cunliffe's ratings are unchanged on 10.8 per cent.

The poll results: National 44.5 per cent (down 1.9 points); Labour 33.5 per cent (up 1.3); Greens 12.4 (up 2); NZ First (5.7 per cent (up 1.5); Conservatives 2.1 per cent (down 0.7); Maori Party 1 per cent (down 0.2); Mana 0.3 per cent (down 1 ); Act 0 (down 0.8); United Future 0 (down 0.1).

Translated to seats in the House, the poll would see National with 55 MPs, the Conservatives with 3 (assumes one electorate seat), Maori Party 2 (assumes two electorate seats), Act 1 (assumes one electorate seat) , United Future 1 (assumes one electorate seat), Labour 40 MPs, the Greens 15 and Mana one.

An overhang of four seats would be created under the poll scenario by some parties winning more MPs than their overall party vote across the country, resulting in a 124-seat Parliament.

Less than two weeks ago, Mr Key said National would be prepared to talk to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters after the next election, reversing the position it had held for two previous elections.

Mr Peters is not expected to give any indication before the election of whether he would prefer National or Labour in Government.

New Zealand First polled 6.59 last election which gave it 8 MPs, although one, Brendan Horan, is now an independent MP.

- Audrey Young of the NZ Herald

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