12 Jun 2019

Political polls 'simply can’t both be right' - Simon Bridges

8:54 am on 12 June 2019

National leader Simon Bridges says the political poll that showed his party had gained support was the most similar to National's own polling.

Watch Simon Bridges on Morning Report:

Two polls released in the weekend had two different results - in one National leapfrogged Labour to take the lead but according to the other, Labour could govern alone for the first time.

The National Party was back ahead of Labour in the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll - up four points to 44 - while Labour was down six percentage points to 42. But the Newshub Reid Research poll Labour could govern alone for the first time with 50.8 percentage points compared to National, which dipped out of the 40s to 37.4 points.

Both polls had Mr Bridges trailing Judith Collins in the preferred Prime Minister stakes.

Mr Bridges told Morning Report today that while the polls "simply can't both be right", the 1 News Colmar Brunton poll was the most similar to the party's own polling.

He said this showed Labour had failed to deliver.

But he refused to comment on what the polls said about his personal rating and whether he had been in discussions with Ms Collins regarding the leadership of his party.

"What matters in polling ultimately is where parties are at, that's what determines power and we've got a situation where there are two polls," he said.

"It's an interesting phenomena, a lot of ink has been spilled on it, one of them can't be right, but ultimately what these polls show is the National Party up, they show a Labour Party down and the reason for that is there was no 'budget bounce', because New Zealanders are working out if you're sitting there at home, as you're ready to go to work, is all you've got is more tax, more debt and a weakening economy under Labour."

Ms Collins challenged for the leadership of the party in a race that Mr Bridges won in February last year. However, this week she dismissed suggestions she would be a better leader, claiming she was exclusively focused on what role the party caucus wanted her to fulfil.

In both polls, Ms Collins was above Mr Bridges in the preferred Prime Minister stakes. She was on 6 percent to Bridges' 5 percent in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, and on 7 percent to Mr Bridges' 4 percent in the Newshub Reid Research poll.

"That's not what I'm focused on, I'm focused on our positive plans for New Zealand and holding the government to account and that's why National is up and Labour is down," Mr Bridges said.

He reframed talk around Ms Collins relative popularity as being a reflection on the depth of talent in his own party compared to that of Labour, a party he said, that was standing by people like Housing Minister Phil Twyford, who had presided over a failed KiwiBuild initiative.

"We have a great team... and then you look across at Jacinda Ardern and her team. She's supposed to having a reshuffled here, but she won't do anything because she isn't blessed with the team and the party vote we have right now. If she was doing the right thing Phil Twyford would go... he is the most visible manifestation of a Labour Party not delivering on its promises."

The National leader again called for the resignation of Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf over circumstances surrounding the recent Budget leak, calling his position untenable.

"It's pretty simple fundamentally, the Treasury was advised that was no compromise, they are told it was simply a data-management issue, which effectively means 'look at yourselves Treasury, not at anyone else'. Despite that he talked about hacking, he referred this to the police... and the other issue here is the government sat back on a lie, and that's not right either."