Polls bad news for Labour
Labour leader David Cunliffe is struggling to connect with voters, with two new polls showing his support as preferred Prime Minister has dropped to single digits.
Both TVNZ and TV3 have published their latest political polls, with mixed results for National, but eroding support in both for Labour and Cunliffe as its leader.
The One News Colmar Brunton poll had National down 4 percentage points since its last poll in mid-February, but still holding 47 per cent of the vote, more than the next two largest parties combined.
Labour meanwhile was down 3 percentage points to 31 per cent.
The 3 News-Reid Research poll had National climbing, although from a lower base, by 1.4 percentage points to 45.9 per cent, while Labour dropped 2.3 percentage points to 31.2 per cent.
Recent polls have suggested support for Labour is slipping, with one recent poll showing Labour was on 29 per cent, although the more recent Roy Morgan poll had Labour up 1 percentage point to 31.5 per cent.
In terms of the preferred prime minister, support for Cunliffe was down in both polls.
One News had Cunliffe down 2 percentage points to 8 per cent while 3 News had Cunliffe down 1.8 percentage points to 9 per cent.
Both polls had John Key on about 42 per cent as preferred Prime Minister, although for One News this was down 1 per cent, while for 3 News it was a jump of 3.6 percentage points.
Cunliffe insisted that the Labour-led block was "neck and neck" with National and its support partners.
"Polls bounce around but all the recent ones are showing that the election will be too close to call. We are confident that as New Zealanders focus on the issues that really matter, there will be a change of government in September," Cunliffe said in a statement.
The polls showed mixed results for most parties, although NZ First recorded a major jump in the One News poll, leaping 4 percentage points to 7 per cent, above the threshold required to retain its place in Parliament. 3 News had NZ First down slightly at 4.9 per cent.
One News had the Green Party up 3 points to 11 per cent, while 3 News had the Greens dropping a point, but also at 11 per cent.
The Conservative Party registered 2 per cent support in both polls.
Both polls were taken in the days leading up to 26 March, before the official launch of the Internet Party, although 3 News registered some support for the party, founded by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, at 0.4 per cent.