Labour continues to trail National in the latest political poll.
Labour is on 27 per cent in the Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll - no change from last month.
The party is well behind National which is at 35 per cent, again unchanged.
Act has risen one point to 14 per cent, the Greens are also up one to 13 per cent.
Te Pāti Māori are on 3 per cent, which is no change from last month. NZ First is on 4 per cent, down two points from last month.
On those numbers, National and Act could govern comfortably alone with 64 seats. NZ First would be out of Parliament.
Chris Hipkins and Christopher Luxon are once again equal in the preferred prime minister stakes, with 25 per cent each.
Meanwhile, Chris Hipkins said his election campaign is “only just ramping up”, when asked about Labour’s most recent poor poll result.
The party recorded one of its worst Talbot Mills Corporate Poll results since entering Government. The poll, released to the Herald yesterday, had Labour falling to 30 per cent. That was down from 32 per cent last month.
Hipkins said, while on the campaign trail this morning, that National had been campaigning far longer while he had been focused on “being Prime Minister”.
He said there was a “huge undecided vote” out there, and he was looking forward to speaking to more of the public about Labour’s policies.
Starting his day at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce business breakfast, Hipkins talked up a Budget 2023 promise to turn the capital into a science city with research hubs.
It capped off an economically-focused week, which saw Hipkins address a major BusinessNZ conference in Wellington and deliver a Bloomberg address in Auckland.
He later was given a stern message by a business owner - lower personal tax rates. Hipkins was visiting Quay Marine in Wellington, a repair shop which helps fix boats like the Cook Strait ferries.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE LIVE BLOG
Hipkins toured the factory and then disappeared into the tea room with the business owner Alan Collins for an extended chat. Media were not invited but a source in the room said a frank discussion about tax rates took place. Collins later told media that high-income tax rates were making it difficult for staff who worked overtime. They meant overtime was not worth it for staff.
”Less taxation… if I get the boys to work overtime they go into the next tax bracket. It’s just not worth it to work,” he said.
Hipkins was visiting businesses and meeting locals in the Wellington Ōhariu electorate today with local MP and candidate Greg O’Connor.
Some of the people they spoke to pushed Labour on personal income tax breaks. Hipkins said he was also able to discuss with them things taxes paid for such as apprenticeship programmes. He said he was confident in his party’s tax policies - including being able to introduce GST off fruit and vegetables by April 1.
He said now was not the time for wider income tax breaks as he was “not willing” to cut into public services.
On a recent breach of the Official Information Act by his office and the Ombudsman ruling that he apologise, Hipkins said he had not had a chance to read it yet but accepted the issues raised. Nobody would be fired for the incident, he said.
O’Connor, the incumbent Ōhariu MP but who is up against National deputy leader Nicola Willis, said he was not taking anything for granted and it was an “equal start”.
Meanwhile, Luxon is in Hamilton and Tauranga today. He gave a speech to the NZ Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference in Hamilton before heaidng to the AIMS games in Mount Maunganui.
Luxon was welcomed by AIMS games trust chairman Henk Popping and tournament director Kelly Schiscka. He is accompanied by Bay of Plenty national candidate Tom Rutherford and Tauranga MP and National candidate Sam Uffindell.
New Zealand’s 53rd Parliament concluded with its dissolution made official this morning on the steps of Parliament.
About 500 people gathered in the Wellington sunshine to watch as the New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to the King, Phillip O’Shea, descended the steps to the sounds of trumpets, a tuba and a trombone ringing out across the grounds. O’Shea stated the confirmation of Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro to dissolve Parliament by signing a proclamation.
That was then certified by three witnesses: the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Clerk and the Clerk-Assistant. At the end of his short speech, O’Shea proclaimed “God save the King”. There was one person in the crowd who responded in kind. The ceremony was finished with the singing of the national anthem.
Poll raises questions
The Talbot Mills Corporate Poll had National on 36 per cent, up one percentage point on the previous poll. The Green Party had jumped two points to 12 per cent. Act had fallen one point to 10 per cent. Based on this poll, NZ First would be back in Parliament on 5.4 per cent.
On those numbers, National would have 45 seats, and Act would have 13. They would need NZ First’s seven seats to govern.
National Party leader Christopher Luxon holds up his pledge card, which he revealed at his party's campaign launch in Auckland last weekend. Photo / Alex Burton
Labour would have 37 seats, the Greens would get 15, and Te Pāti Māori would have three.
Hipkins’ ranking as preferred Prime Minister had plummeted from 34 per cent in the last poll to 28 per cent this month.
Luxon was hot on his heels at 26 per cent. Act leader David Seymour also polled well, hitting 11 per cent; Green co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw scored 4 per cent each.
The poll was taken between August 24 and 30, a period that covered Hipkins’ ruling out governing with NZ First but missed the fallout from National’s tax plan, which was released on August 30.
The Labour leader released the party’s six-point plan to reduce crime, which included a $124 million investment to add 300 more police officers to the front line by 2027/28.
Fifty extra officers would be introduced in the first year and 75 in the second and third years, with the remaining 100 hitting the ground in the 2027/28 year.
Hipkins said the boost in front-line officers meant there was one officer for every 470 Kiwis, which he claimed was the “best ratio in modern history”.
Labour promised to add 300 more police officers to the front line if elected. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Labour had also promised to investigate adding a new offence to the Crimes Act to address stalking.
It followed the 2022 murder of promising AUT student Farzana Yaqubi by Kanwarpal Singh, who last month was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.
The Herald had earlier revealed Yaqubi had gone to police with concerns she was being harassed two months before she was murdered.
Today, Labour’s policy document acknowledged the need to modernise stalking and harassment laws with the potential to create a stalking offence.
The other new promise concerned gang convoys and could include new legislation to allow the seizure of gang members’ vehicles “without conviction when it is unsafe for police to intervene at the time of the offending, ensuring that gang members don’t get away with breaking the law when it’s difficult to identify the driver of the vehicle, and expanding the scope of police powers so that any breach of road laws by gang members when there are two or more vehicles involved would result in seizure”.
Hipkins described recent gang convoys, like the one in Ōpōtiki in June, as “intolerable”.
“Labour will introduce laws to punish this behaviour and develop new ways to target gang leaders and break their international links.”
On the pink bus
Meanwhile, Act Party leader David Seymour unveiled his bright-pink campaign bus, which he calls “Big Pinky” - and revealed a donor will supply him with a piloted plane to help him get around 75 campaign stops.
The Act Party campaign bus, named 'Big Pinky', was revealed in Auckland yesterday. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
Yesterday, Seymour, candidates, supporters and media took the bus - loaned by a supporter - from the Auckland Showgrounds to a political panel at St Paul’s College in Ponsonby.
“We are a little bit concerned that we are actually going to attract as many Barbie fans as Act fans,” Seymour said of the bright pink branding. “But increasingly there’s a cross-over. We think that this bus will be more than Ken-ough.”
Luxon was in Queenstown to announce his promise to build a new “Great Walk” and encourage more young people to come to New Zealand on working holiday visas, as part of his party’s tourism strategy.
Tourism spokesman Joseph Mooney said the party would create a new 80-kilometre Great Walk at Waiau - Toa/Molesworth in the South Island.
The party would also lift the upper age for being allowed a working holiday visa from 30 to 35 years and allow people to apply for a second and third work visa as long as worker shortages continue.
Luxon also promised to electrify the New Zealand cycle trail for e-bikes, with $3m set aside to co-invest in e-bike chargers.
Mooney said the total cost of the tourism package came to $22m over four years, which would be funded through money that was unallocated from the International Visitor Levy, a charge levied on incoming tourists that was brought in by Labour.
Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald press gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the NZ Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.
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