31 Jul 2017

English: National reaps benefit of 'staying on the job'

10:47 am on 31 July 2017

The latest poll results show voters recognise National offers a strong stable government, in contrast to the opposition, Prime Minister Bill English says.

But Mr English said party needed to lift its support further to ensure its re-election.

Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Right Honourable Bill English during a stand up with media, after a walk through of a drug rehabilitation centre in Te Atatu today.

Bill English Photo: RNZ / Brad White

Labour fell three points to 24 percent in the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, its lowest showing in more than 20 years, while the Greens were up four points to 15 percent. Labour leader Andrew Little has revealed he asked senior colleagues whether he should quit after the poll showed ebbing support.

National held steady on 47 percent.

Mr English said in contrast to the opposition, National had shown it was stable in government.

"The opposition parties have had a bit of a run in the last month or so and demonstrated through their behaviour what kind of government they might be. That helps us a bit."

National had stayed "on the job" and focused on issues that had an impact on the public; infrastructure, expanding public services and a focus on the economy. "That's what people expect a stable sensible government to do and that's what we're doing."

The controversy over MP Todd Barclay, who stood down over an allegation he secretly recorded an electorate staff member, didn't dent the party's poll standings because it wasn't an issue that affected people personally, he said.

However, Labour's poor poll showing would not ensure National's re-election. "Despite Labour doing worse, the Greens are doing a bit better, and they could have a majority with New Zealand First so our view is that our support, while it's good, isn't enough.'

Though there were only two women in the top 10 of the party's list, announced over the weekend, Mr English said there were many good woman ministers and there was no doubt of their influence.

"In the Cabinet, the presence and influence of the women ministers is strong consistent and persuasive."

A number of very competent women had been selected in winnable seats, he said.

The list, dominated by sitting MPs, is headed by Mr English, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and Parliament Speaker David Carter, the next ranked are current cabinet ministers. then MPs standing again at the election.

The highest ranked person not currently in Parliament is Nicola Willis, at number 48, a business executive and former advisor to John Key who is standing for Wellington Central.

Mr Barclay's replacement in Clutha-Southland, yet to be announced, will be at number 68 on the list.

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