National drops latest poll after Ross drama

National Party leader Simon Bridges speaks to about 80 people at the Mornington Presbyterian...
National Party leader Simon Bridges. Photo: Peter McIntosh

The National Party has only dropped 2% in the latest political poll, despite the tumultuous events of last week.

The 1NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, released tonight, had the National Party on 43% support.

The Labour Party was ahead of National at 45% support, up 3% from the last poll.

The Green Party were up 1% to 7% support, while NZ First was steady on 5% - right at the threshold for entering Parliament.

The poll was conducted from Monday to Friday last week.

Simon Bridges fell in the preferred PM stakes to 7%, his lowest rating so far and only 2% ahead of fellow MP Judith Collins.

Jacinda Ardern was up 2% to 42% support, while New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had dropped 1% to 4%.

In the previous 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, taken from July 28 to August 1, support for National was steady on 45%, the same as the previous poll in May.

Labour was down one point to 42%, but the Greens and NZ First were both up a point, to 6% and 5% respectively.

ACT and the Maori Party, which is not in Parliament, were also steady on 1% support each.

In the preferred Prime Minister stakes, Ardern was on 40%, down one point on the previous poll.

Bridges was down two points to just 10% support as preferred PM, putting him back to where he was in April, a month after taking over the leadership from Bill English.

The latest poll follows a week of unprecedented political turmoil for the National Party, as Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross laid a police complaint about alleged electoral fraud and traded insults and accusations with leaders Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett.

Ross quit the party just before the National caucus voted unanimously to expel him, and then released a recorded phone conversation that included embarrassing comments from Bridges, where he described National MP Maureen Pugh as "f***ing useless".

Bridges apologised to Pugh and welcomed the police probe, saying he had done nothing wrong.

He called Ross a liar and a leaker, while Bennett said Ross had acted in a way unbecoming for a married MP - a comment that Bridges has since reprimanded her over.

As the tension escalated, four women's stories were published in Newsroom accusing Ross of bullying and intimidating behaviour.

Ross disagreed with how he was portrayed, but apologised for any hurt he had inflicted on the women admitted to extra-marital affairs, including with a married MP. He publicly apologised to his wife.

The saga also opened up the National Party to accusations of a cash-for-candidates scheme, following the release of a recording where Ross and Bridges talked about taking Chinese donations and having an extra Chinese MP.

National Party president Peter Goodfellow said National seats were not for sale.

He also fended off accusations of a cover-up, after it was revealed he had brokered a confidentiality agreement between Ross and National candidate Katrina Bungard, who complained about Ross' harassing behaviour.

Goodfellow said both parties wanted confidentiality, and it was the only complaint against Ross that he was told about.

Bungard backed him up, saying she "always felt fully supported by the National Party and its leadership".

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