18 Aug 2017

Poll puts Greens below threshhold as Labour surges

11:30 am on 18 August 2017

A new political poll has the Green Party plummeting to just 4 percent support - below the threshold to re-enter Parliament.

Metiria Turei resigns as Green Party co-leader

Green Party leader James Shaw Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The 1 News Colmar Brunton poll comes after a tumultuous few weeks for the Greens in which their co-leader Metiria Turei resigned after admitting benefit fraud, and two other Green MPs left in protest at her actions.

In the poll, support for the Greens fell from 15 percent to 4 percent.

At that level, the Greens would need to win an electorate seat at next month's election to re-enter Parliament.

And support for Labour, with new leader Jacinda Ardern, continues to surge - up 13 points to 37 percent.

The poll had support for the National Party falling three points to 44 percent, and New Zealand First was down one point to 10 percent.

Otago University lecturer and political commentator Bryce Edwards said a lot of Green support had gone straight to the Labour Party under Ms Ardern.

"This has just been a perfect storm for the Green party, not only have they had this horrible scandal, it's happened at a time that Labour is buoyant.

"People see that Labour is back in the game, that they have a credible leader, and that's why they're taking 37 percent of the vote.

"So anyone that had doubts about the Green Party, that were supporting them, have an instant party to go to. They could instantly go to Jacinda Ardern without a second thought."

He said he imagined Ms Ardern would also be "well up" in preferred Prime Minister polling.

"I think we have to stop thinking about the 'Labour with Greens' scenario, because once the Greens go below 5 percent people lose confidence in being able to vote for the Greens, they're not sure that they're going to be in Parliament.

He said he still thought New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters would be the 'kingmaker', but it might simply be a case of Labour versus National.

"I don't think it's going to matter that much if Labour is five points behind National or 15 points. In the end it's going to come down to Winston Peters.

It was an explosive election, he said.

"It is just an election that is so close, I think we're going to see much more fascination with what's happening ... we're going to see a higher voter turnout because people like when there's actually a contest.

"This is the most dramatic election I think we've seen for many decades.

1 News said the poll was taken in the last five days.

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