New Zealand Labour Slumps in Latest Poll While National, Greens Rise; David Cunliffe Not Surprised

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By Reissa Su | March 18, 2014 3:22 PM EST

New Zealand's Labour Party said it was not surprised when it dropped under 30 per cent in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey. On March 18, Labour dropped to 29.5 per cent while the Prime Minister John Key's National party rose to 50.8 per cent. The Greens jumped from 2.3 per cent to 13.1 per cent.

REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk
New Zealand's flag-bearer Adam Hallflag (R), leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, March 7, 2014.

Support for Labour and Greens when combined will total 42.6 per cent. The Labour party, led by David Cunliffe, has slumped below the 30 per cent mark for the first time since Mr Cunliffe assumed leadership. His election six months ago was meant to increase New Zealanders' support for the party. However, based on poll results, the move may have backfired.

According to the poll,  Mr Cunliffe's popularity has dropped six points to 11.1 per cent which is lower than David Shearer's 12.4 per cent, the party's former leader.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key's popularity has gained by 4.6 points to 66.5 per cent with high hopes for the National party. According to Mr Cunliffe, he was no longer surprised by the poll since Labour has gone through a couple of challenging weeks. He said the party expected to take a hit but now they were ready to move on.

Mr Cunliffe mentioned that Labour is doing its own survey and continues to record the people's support in the mid-30s range.  

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said he isn't reading too much into the National party's favourable results. He remarked that it was just another poll and there's still a lot to do to meet the people's expectations.

Mr English said it was good to know that Kiwis think the country is going in the right direction. He believes the people still want to see an economy that provides more jobs with higher incomes.  

In a previous poll, Mr Key has emerged the most liked and trusted politician in a recent poll. According to a Fairfax Media-Ipsos survey, 59.3 per cent of Kiwis say they like Mr Key, while 58.7 per cent say they trusted him.

Mr Key enjoys a strong lead ahead of his opponents as the most preferred prime minister with 51.2 per cent. Meanwhile, preference and trust in Labour party leader David Cunliffe appear to be roughly equal. About 18.2 per cent Kiwis prefer Mr Cunliffe as prime minister of New Zealand.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk / )
New Zealand's flag-bearer Adam Hallflag (R), leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, March 7, 2014.
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