New Zealand’s ruling National Party regained a wide lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of Saturday’s election, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday, sending the New Zealand dollar higher in the face of what is still expected to be a tight race. The One News-Colmar Brunton opinion poll was the second poll in recent weeks to show a near 10 point lead for National, led by 55-year-old Prime Minister Bill English, but opinion polls in the campaign have been volatile.
At times Labour has been in front with comfortable margins, having received a boost when 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern was elected Labour leader in August, echoing the optimism that propelled Emmanuel Macron this year to become the youngest French head of state since Napoleon.
Prior to her election as Labour leader the national election was regarded as a slam-dunk for the centre-right National Party, which has governed since 2008.
The latest poll showed the National Party jumped 6 points to 46 percent, while Labour slumped by seven points to 37 percent. The New Zealand dollar rose its highest in over six weeks to $0.7375 after the poll was released on Wednesday.
Support for nationalist New Zealand First, which had widely been expected to become the kingmaker, fell taking it to the threshold levels a party needs to win a seat in parliament.
The poll showed support for New Zealand First dropped 1 point to 5 percent. The Green Party, with which Labour has a working agreement, rose 1 point to 8 percent.