Latest political poll: Judith Collins plummets in preferred PM stakes

A new political poll has seen a massive drop in popularity for National leader Judith Collins, following weeks of the party accusing the Government of a “separatism by stealth” agenda.

Results from tonight’s Newshub-Reid Research poll show Labour at 52.7 per cent (up 2.7 percentage points from election night), and National at 27 per cent (up 1.4 percentage points).

The Greens polled at 7.1 per cent, Act at 6.9 per cent, and Te Pāti Māori at 1.2 per cent.

In the preferred PM stakes, Jacinda Ardern polled at 48.1 per cent (up 4.5 percentage points); Judith Collins was at 5.6 per cent (down 12.8 percentage points).

Former PM John Key was higher than Collins on 6.7 per cent, while backbench MP Christopher Luxon was on 2.4 per cent.

These numbers mean that Labour could govern along comfortably.

They also mean the pressure on Collins’ leadership will intensify, though it remains unclear whether any National MP would want to challenge her for the leadership at this stage.

Collins told Newshub that she “wasn’t going down – fullstop”.

“It’s really important that people understand what the Government is doing behind their backs. I’m not going to sit around and watch this Government divide our country up based on race.”

Ardern told Newshub that National’s political strategy in recent weeks was “sad”.

In the poll, voters were asked whether Labour was being separatist and whether National was being divisive.

The most respondents (43.6 per cent) said Labour wasn’t being separatist, while a similar proportion (44.5 per cent) said National was being divisive.

Among National voters, 23.5 per cent thought the party was being divisive.

The Newshub-Reid Research poll is its first of the year, and follows a One News Colmar Brunton poll in March that had Labour on 49 per cent, National on 27 per cent, the Greens on 9 per cent and Act on 8 per cent.

This was a slightly narrower gap between the major parties than on election night in 2020, when Labour won 50 per cent of the vote and National won 25.6 per cent.

Tonight’s poll follows a campaign from the National Party over recent weeks to accuse the Government of a “separatism by stealth” agenda, highlighting the He Puapua report, proposals to hand over conservation estate to Māori, the proposed Māori Health Authority, and the Government’s use of urgency to rush through a law getting rid of a public veto on Māori wards.

The Government has rejected this, saying neither He Puapua nor DoC proposals have come before Cabinet, the Māori Health authority is about partnership, and the ability for a Māori ward to be overturned in a referendum was “discriminatory”.

Today Collins told a regional party conference in Queenstown that the Government was creating regional water authorities, and the one covering the South Island would see Ngāi Tahu co-owning water infrastructure assets.

But Ngāi Tahu rubbished this, saying Collins was “deceptive and wrong”.

Te Pāti Māori has accused National of “racist rhetoric”, which Collins rejected, saying she is simply raising important issues for discussion.

Last week the Government was also on the back foot over its proposed pay freeze for much of the public sector.

Frustrated unions, after meeting with ministers, claimed two victories: cost-of-living increases could be discussed for all workers on collective negotiations “regardless of salary”, and the pay settings would be reviewed after a year, instead of in 2023.

Next week the Government is delivering Budget 2021, with a focus on child poverty, climate change and housing.

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