Roy Morgan poll shows Nats extending lead, Labour/Greens fading
By Pattrick Smellie
Sept. 17 (BusinessDesk) - The last Roy Morgan opinion poll before the general election on Saturday shows the National Party gaining ground in the first fortnight of September, up 1.5 percentage points to 46.5 percent, while both the Labour and Green parties slipped in the rolling poll of 935 people taken between Sept. 1 and 14, one day before Kim Dotcom's 'moment of truth' extravaganza in Auckland.
The poll shows the Internet-Mana party stuck on one percent support, the Conservative Party unchanged at 3.5 percent and unable to enter Parliament except in the unlikely event it wins a territorial electorate, and New Zealand First riding high at 8 percent support, up two percentage points on Roy Morgan's previous poll, taken in the last fortnight of August.
National was in "pole position" to form a government, the Australian-headquartered polling agency said.
However, on this poll, Peters is not assured a king-maker role as National, with 58 seats, would be only three seats short of a clear majority and could expect to call on support from two MPs from the Maori Party, and one MP each from the Act and United Future parties.
Under that scenario, National would remain ham-strung on initiatives that stalled in the current Parliament in areas such as resource management and employment law reform, but with 62 seats in a 120 seat Parliament they could pass budgets through the House, based on calculations produced by the Electoral Commission's MMP seat calculator tool.
If these results were mirrored on election day, Labour and the Greens would have 47 seats, with New Zealand First's allocation of 10 insufficient to take a three-way ruling arrangement to a parliamentary majority.
Among the smallest parties, the Maori Party rose one percentage point to 1.5 percent, enough to take two MP's into Parliament, assuming the party wins the Waiariki seat held by party leader Te Ururoa Flavell. United Future and Act both sit at 0.5 percent support but expect to win the territorial electorates of Ohariu and Epsom respectively, delivering one MP each to the next Parliament.
The poll also reveals continuing net optimism about the country's direction, with an increase of one percentage point to 62 percent in the numbers saying they believe New Zealand is heading in "the right direction" and a drop of one percentage point to 24 percent in people saying it is heading in the "wrong direction."