7 Nov 2022

Jacinda Ardern taking Labour's drop in polls 'with a grain of salt'

8:43 am on 7 November 2022
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking the latest poll figures with a "grain of salt" after it saw the Labour Party's popularity plummet.

The Newshub-Reid Research Poll was revealed on Sunday night, showing Labour had dropped 5.9 points to 32.3 percent support.

This was well below the National Party on 40.7 percent.

Factor in the minor parties and on these numbers, National and Act would combine for more than 50 percent of the vote, while Labour and the Greens would have less than 42 percent.

Ardern told Morning Report she took what was happening with the polls with "a grain of salt" as they were done so infrequently.

"Publicly we used to have some of those big outlets doing quite frequent polls, the last Reid Research one I believe was in May.

"We do ours much more regularly. Ours show we are neck-and-neck, so that's where I see we are currently and that seems to be a pretty accurate reflection probably of the mood right now."

Ardern said New Zealand was roughly 12 months away from the election and the government's focus was "people, not polls".

Deputy leader of the National Party Nicola Willis

Nicola Willis. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis told Morning Report it was one poll with a "good result for us".

"We expect the polls to go up and down. But what we think next year's election will be like? Very, very close and it's going to be very important for New Zealand so we are going to keep putting our best feet forward."

On Sunday, Ardern announced a policy aimed at easing cost-of-living pressures at her party's annual conference in Auckland.

It would see a change in the childcare subsidy payment from next year - something more than half of all Kiwi families would benefit from.

The change would mean a family with two parents both working 40 hours per week on $26/hour with two children under five who were currently not eligible for childcare assistance, be eligible for $252/week.

But exactly how much each family saves on childcare will depend on how many hours they work, their income, how long their children spend in care and the cost of it.

The government expects the changes will mean the parents of about 7400 additional children will receive the payment on average per month.

About $190 million over the next four years will be spent on the policy.

"I know it will make a difference", and was in direct response to issues voters had been raising, Ardern told Morning Report .

Willis said National recognised childcare fees had gone up "massively" in recent years and by 4 percent in just the past three months.

Although it was a high cost for many families, WIllis said there were "millions of other New Zealanders" also struggling with the high cost of living.

"What we wanted to see yesterday was a plan that would address the root drivers of inflation to minimise that cost of living for a much wider range of people."

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and National Party leader Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ

During the party's conference, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson took aim at Opposition leader Christopher Luxon for putting forward tax cuts for the wealthiest.

"Or should that be Liz Luxon? Even the UK Conservatives worked out that tax cuts for the wealthiest were a mistake but here, National are sticking to it.

"Christopher Luxon is trying to out-Truss Liz Truss. Economic credibility be damned, there is an ideology to serve."

Ardern told Morning Report "history came into play" and the deputy prime minister role was to use the conference as an opportunity to "compare and contrast".

She said Robertson's comments were just "light banter" like was often seen in the debating chamber.

Ardern did not give a date for the upcoming election but said as she had in the past, she would give a "decent lead time".

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