Nats head for a landslide (+ stats)

01:43, Jan 31 2009

National is on track for a landslide election win with a 27-point poll lead over Labour.

On today's Fairfax Media poll, Labour faces an election night rout that would oust 14 sitting MPs and deliver National a 13-seat majority.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen is now under huge pressure to deliver an election-winning Budget next week or face the backlash from voters seeking relief from rising pressure on household budgets.

But on today's result, voters have already written Labour off and it may take more than the modest tax cuts signalled by Dr Cullen to turn that around.

The Nielsen poll for Fairfax newspapers suggests that not just the size but the timing of any tax cuts could be critical, with voters saying they want relief now, even if that puts pressure on interest rates.

Just over half of those questioned - 51 per cent - don't want to wait for tax cuts, even if that means interest and mortgage rates stay higher for longer.


It suggests that Dr Cullen's argument that early and sizeable tax cuts will only push up interest rates and delay relief for heavily mortgaged households does not wash with voters.

Kiwibank cut its two-year fixed-term home loan rate to 8.99 per cent yesterday and other banks are expected to follow in anticipation of a cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank.

Today's poll will send panic through Labour ranks. National's lead is a turnaround from polls which had Labour closing the gap - the previous Fairfax poll had National and Labour 18 points apart.

National Party leader John Key said yesterday that voters were sick of Labour.

"They're tired of the fact that they're so out of touch with issues that concern them in their daily life."

National would fight the election on tax cuts, which would be a defining difference between the two parties.

"All the messages that Labour has given off in the last two months is that tax cuts will be relatively small."

Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is in South Korea, could not be contacted for comment.

The poll put the Greens on 6 per cent - safely above the 5 per cent threshold, where they were joined by NZ First on 5 per cent.

That could put NZ First leader Winston Peters back at centre-stage in any post-election deals, though on current numbers National could easily govern alone.

The poll questioned 1091 voters between Wednesday May 7 and Tuesday this week and has a margin of error of 3 per cent.


The Dominion Post