Labour steady in lead in fresh TVNZ poll

Labour has held its lead on National in the latest TVNZ Colmar Brunton poll, with both parties rising a point but the difference between them holding steady. 

In Thursday's poll Labour was on 44 per cent support against 40 per cent for National.

Both parties had jumped a single percentage point from last week's poll and National was back in the psychologically-important 40s. 

The figures would see National out of Government however, and give Labour the option of governing with the backing of the Green Party, on 7 per cent, or NZ First on 6 per cent.

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The Maori Party was on one per cent , with ACT on 0.6, and The Opportunities Party on two per cent.

In the preferred Prime Minster stakes, Jacinda Ardern was on 34 per cent (down one point). Bill English was on 32 per cent (up one point). Winston Peters was on five per cent.

Peters was unimpressed with the poll.

"I think your polls are crap," he said.

TVNZ's numbers show a vastly different result to a recent Newshub Reid Research Poll, which this week had Labour's momentum hitting an apparent wall and National bouncing high with the ability to govern alone.

Those figures suggested the party had taken a battering over its vague tax stance and repeated attacks from National that it would raise a number of new taxes mid-term. 

Newhub's poll had National in a commanding 10 point lead over Labour, which had dropped 1.6 to 37.8 per cent while its ally the Greens were under the 5 per cent MMP threshold to remain in Parliament. 

National's support was up 4 percentage points at 47.3 per cent giving it 61 seats in the 120 seat Parliament.

It could form a majority government even though its polling was below the 50 per cent mark, thanks to the "wasted" vote from parties that fall below the 5 per cent threshold.

While the polls across agencies have been volatile, Monday's Newshub poll was enough to prompt a swift U-turn from Labour on its tax stance.

It would now wait until a second term before any tax changes from its working group would come into force, though it would implement them into law in its first term. 

Other than Labour's already announced polices - such as cancelling National's planned tax cuts, extending the bright line test to five years, and introducing water and tourist levies - no new taxes or changes will kick in before the next election, finance spokesman Grant Robertson promised.

Leader Jacinda Ardern insisted it was not a backdown on her position that she would need to act on working group recommendations with urgency. Rather, she said she was "willing to take risks but I am also willing to listen". 

Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Labour had begun a "long march back but they've got a way to go."

"They've postponed the introduction of two taxes but have reaffirmed their intention to impose a water tax, regional fuel tax, tourism tax, income tax increases, and bringing farming into the ETS," Joyce said.

Both Joyce and English describe Labour's decision to cancel their planned cuts to personal tax as a tax hike.

Joyce and Robertson face off Thursday night, live on Stuff, in one of the final finance debates before polling day on September 23.

 - Stuff