(Bloomberg) — New Zealand’s main opposition National Party retained the prime position to win Saturday’s election, though it would require the support of smaller parties to govern, according to two opinion polls published Wednesday in Wellington.
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Support for National rose 1 percentage point to 37% in a 1News/Verian poll, leading the ruling Labour Party which improved 2 points to 28%.
However, National would need the help of both the libertarian ACT Party, on 9%, and the nationalist New Zealand First Party, on 6%, to reach a majority in parliament.
If the poll results were replicated at the Oct. 14 ballot, National would have the only path to power because Labour and New Zealand First have ruled out working together. Labour’s ally, the Green Party, was on 14% in the poll, while the tiny Maori Party, another likely partner, had 2% support. That’s not enough to reach a majority between them.
The poll results reinforce the prospect that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters could return from the political wilderness. The 78-year-old’s career looked over when his party failed to surpass the 5% threshold at the previous election in 2020.
Separately, a Newshub-Reid Research poll published Wednesday showed National dropped 4.6 points to 34.5% — its lowest reading since February last year. It still has a lead over Labour which gained 1 point to 27.5%.
The Newshub poll also showed National would need the help of ACT on 8.8%, and New Zealand First on 6.8% to reach a majority.
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