Labour targeting wrong issues - Key

ANDREA VANCE AND STACEY KIRK
Last updated 08:30 24/02/2014
Opinion poll

What are the big issues for the election?

The economy

Unemployment

Law and order

Health

Education

Retirement/superannuation

Asset sales

Affordable housing

Taxation reform

Welfare reform

Kim Dotcom

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Labour is flatlining in a new opinion poll because it's focusing on the wrong issues, says Prime Minister John Key.

The latest TVNZ-Colmar Brunton survey has National on 51 per cent, which would deliver them 64 seats, enough to govern alone.

The TVNZ poll held Labour steady on 34 per cent, but the Greens fell from 13 per cent to 8. This would give the Left alliance 55 seats. NZ First also dropped slightly, down one point to 3 per cent.

The result follows the Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll which put National on 49 per cent and is the same as the 51 per cent result in last week's Roy Morgan.

Key said Labour's problem was the party was zeroing in on the wrong things.

"Those issues [Kim Dotcom and state asset sales] aren't the really big issues. That's the point, isn't it?

"The big issues are the economy, law and order and health and education and our programme's working and the results are good," he said.

"Not everything is perfect, but there are a lot of good things there, and after five and a half years, I think a lot of people are saying 'relative to the circumstances, and the rest of the world, we at least understand where the Government is going and what they're trying to do.'"

Key said the poll was encouraging, but said figures were likely to shift as the election year progressed.

"It's a great poll and it reflects the other polls. You've seen Fairfax Media's poll over the last weekend - very, very similar numbers; Roy Morgan, quite similar; our own internal polling very similar numbers.

"But let's be honest, polls come and go. I'll be on the show sometime in the future and we'll be talking about polls being down a bit," he said on Breakfast.

"The point is, in the end, MMP is always tight and it's going to remain very tight."

Labour leader David Cunliffe suffered from a lack of exposure in the last month, dropping two points in the preferred prime minister stakes to 10 per cent. Key maintained 43 per cent from the last TVNZ poll in October.

Recently, Cunliffe has had to contend with whispers of dissatisfaction from within his party. However, he told Fairfax Media he has looked into this and insisted his caucus are behind him.

"This poll, overall, shows Labour continuing to make steady progress," he said. "There is still a high level of volatility early in election year between this and other polls.

"Labour is very positive and focused on a plan to win and we are organising around the country to deliver that result."

He accepted he has been invisible. "Possibly. And I am going to be out of the blocks and all round," he said.

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The poll has the Maori party on 0.9 per cent, ACT on 0.4 per cent, the Conservative party on 1.3 per cent, United Future on 0.3 per cent and Mana not registering.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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