National leader Simon Bridges is toughing out one of his party's worst poll results, saying it's not a surprising outcome at a time of crisis and he believes his leadership is safe.
He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that similar results were happening all over the world and Jacinda Ardern had received "wall-to-wall coverage" during the Covid crisis.
He said voters should wait until the election campaign. "National has the team and the track record."
"I'm the leader and I'm staying."
Bridges this morning fronted up to Hosking, following the Newshub/Reid Research poll on Monday night that put National at just 30 per cent - compared to 56.5 per cent for Labour.
Bridges believed more voters would return to National as the economy turned. He said New Zealand had been focused on the health response, but that was changing as more people focused on "their back pocket".
Asked about leadership rumblings, he said he did not believe they were there. He reiterated he was the leader and was "here to stay".
Monday's poll also spelled more bad news for Bridges when it came to the preferred Prime Minister rankings – just 4.5 per cent of New Zealanders think he should be in charge of the government.
That is light years behind Ardern, who was at 59.5 cent – up 20.8 percentage points on the last poll; the highest any Prime Minister has scored in Reid Research's polling history, although polls by other media companies - including the NZ Herald - had John Key higher than that at various points.
Looking forward to the election campaign, Bridges told Hosking that National would have a "very different approach".
He said National would be focused on jobs. "People will see a very different approach at the election."
Bridges said National was leading every poll before Covid-19. "Polls jump around."
He confirmed National would be making new policy announcements in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, he said, Labour was all "borrow and spend" and he picked they would raise taxes.
"I don't see any of those things" he said, when he was asked about any leadership rumblings.
The numbers in Monday night's poll would mean Labour would have 72 seats in the House, enough to form a government without any support partners.
National, on the other hand, would win just 39 seats – a drop of 16 seats on their current allocation.
Most of the Reid Research poll was conducted prior to last week's Budget and takes into account public sentiment in the final days of the level 3 lockdown.
The poll also showed that more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders favoured the lockdown measures, despite the economic pain they caused.
The electorate tends to favour prime ministers and government during times of crisis.
Former prime minister John Key reached similar heights following the 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes.
The poll comes just months before all parties in Parliament begin gearing up for September's election.