Roy Morgan Research
October 13, 2023

New Zealand set for a new Prime Minister and a three-party governing coalition: National, ACT & NZ First

Topic: Federal Poll
Finding No: 9362
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Today’s Roy Morgan New Zealand pre-election Poll for September-October 2023 shows National leader Christopher Luxon on course to be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister – provided Luxon can secure deals with ACT and New Zealand First.

Support for a potential National/ACT right-leaning coalition is now at 42%, down 7% points from August 2023, as support for the libertarian-leaning ACT fell swiftly in September-October.

Support for National was virtually unchanged at 30.5%, down 0.5% points from August (but up 4.9% points since the 2020 NZ Election), while support for ACT dropped significantly, down 6.5% points to 11.5% (but an increase of 3.9% points since the last election). ACT lost a slew of candidates (six) in the lead-up to the election and this has clearly had a negative impact on their support.

The combined support for a potential National/ACT coalition is now at its lowest for exactly two years since October 2021 and the two parties will not be able to form government without the help of New Zealand First and long-time leader, Winston Peters.

Support for New Zealand First continued to surge in September-October and was up 2% points to 7.5% - the highest level of support for the ‘populist’ party for nearly six years since December 2017.

The two right-leaning parties (National and ACT) are now only marginally ahead of the governing Labour/ Greens coalition which was up 4.5% points to 41% in September-October. However, both Labour and New Zealand First have ruled out working together after the election so there is little prospect of these parties repeating the coalition agreement of 2017 that brought Jacinda Ardern to power.

In September-October support for Labour increased 2% points to 26% (but down a large 24% from the 2020 NZ Election) and support for the Greens increased for the second month in a row, up 2.5% points to 15% (and up 7.1% points from the last election).

This is the highest support for the party for a year since October 2022.

Support for The Opportunities Party (TOP) overtakes the Maori Party

The results for September-October show another 9.5% (up 0.5% points from August) are supporting other parties including the Maori Party on 3%, down 1% point from August. The Maori Party is the only other party to currently be represented in the New Zealand Parliament with two seats.

A further 6.5% of electors support other minor parties outside Parliament, up 1.5% points from a month ago, including 3.5% (up 1.5% points) who support The Opportunities Party and a total of 3% (unchanged) who support other minor parties including Democracy NZ and the New Conservatives.

Right-leaning National/ACT are set to win about 54 seats, just ahead of Labour/Greens on about 52 seats with New Zealand First on about 10 seats set to decide next Prime Minister

If these results are repeated at the New Zealand Election the right-leaning National/ACT coalition would score 54 seats just ahead of the potential left-leaning Labour/Greens coalition on 52 seats.

This leaves New Zealand First, projected to win 10 seats at the election, in prime position to determine who New Zealand’s next Prime Minister is. As we have noted – both New Zealand First and the Labour Party have both already ruled out working together after the election.

The projected results show the Maori Party is set to be returned to Parliament with 4 seats.

This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile – with a New Zealand-wide cross-section of 1,250 electors over the five weeks running from Monday September 4 – Sunday October 8, 2023. Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” Of all electors surveyed 5%, unchanged, did not name a party.

New Zealand Government Confidence Rating down 2.5pts to 73.5 in September-October

The Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating was down 2.5pts to 73.5 in September-October in the lead-up to the election. Now 57.5% (up 1.5% points) of electors said New Zealand was ‘heading in the wrong direction’ compared to under a third, only 31% (down 1% point), who said New Zealand was ‘heading in the right direction’.

Party vote analysis by Gender & Age




NZ Election
Women Men
All 18-49 50+ All 18-49 50+
% % % % % % % %
Labour 50.0 26 32 30 34 20.5 22.5 18
Greens 7.9 15 17.5 27.5 8 12.5 15 10
Labour/ Greens 57.9 41 49.5 57.5 42 33 37.5 28
National 25.6 30.5 29 22 35.5 32 28.5 36.5
ACT 7.6 11.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 15.5 12 18.5
National/ ACT 33.2 42 36.5 29.5 43 47.5 40.5 55
Maori Party 1.2 3 2.5 1.5 3.5 3.5 5.5 1
NZ First 2.6 7.5 6 6 6.5 8.5 4 13
Others 5.1 6.5 5 5.5 5 7.5 12 3
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating
Right Direction 68.5 31 34 33.5 34 28 30 25.5
Wrong Direction 21 57.5 54 54 54 61 58 64.5
Government Confidence Rating 147.5 73.5 80 79.5 80 67 72 61
Can’t say 10.5 11.5 12 12.5 12 11 12 10
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

*The Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating is 100 plus the difference between the percentage of Kiwis who say the country is “heading in the right direction” and the percentage who say the country is “seriously heading in the wrong direction”.

Men favour National/ACT by 14.5% points while women favour Labour/Greens by 13% points

On an overall basis men are heavily in favour of a potential National/ACT coalition on 47.5% well ahead of Labour/Greens on 33%. This high support among men is the basis of the lead National/ACT have overall. In contrast, support among women leans heavily towards a potential governing Labour/Greens coalition on 49.5% well ahead of a potential National/ACT coalition on 36.5%.

Support for potential ‘kingmakers’ NZ First is also higher amongst men (8.5%) than women (6%).

A large majority of 55% of older men aged 50+ support a potential National/ACT coalition government compared to around a quarter, 28%, who support the governing Labour/Greens coalition.

Support for NZ First is heaviest among this age group of older men at 13% - at least double the level of support for the party from any other age and gender group.

There is a much closer result for younger men aged 18-49 with a clear plurality of 40.5% supporting a potential National/ACT coalition government compared to almost as many, 37.5%, who support the current governing Labour/Greens coalition. Only 4% of younger men support NZ First.

Women aged 50+ narrowly favour a potential National/ACT coalition on 43%, just ahead of the current governing Labour/Greens coalition on 42%. However, younger women aged 18-49 are the only major demographic group which favours the governing Labour/Greens on 57.5% almost double a potential National/ACT coalition on 29.5%.

Amongst women, support for NZ First is at 6%, and evenly distributed between younger women aged 18-49 at 6% and older women aged 50+ at 6.5%.

Despite losing support during the election campaign, support for ACT is still clearly defined by gender and is far higher among men at 15.5% almost double their support among women at only 7.5%.

Support for the Greens is higher amongst younger women (27.5%) and men (15%) than amongst their older counterparts. Only 8% of women aged 50+ and 10% of men aged 50+ support the Greens.

The Maori Party support has fallen in recent weeks and only 2.5% of women now support the party including 1.5% support from women aged 18-49 and 3.5% support from women aged 50+. The Maori Party attracts the support of 3.5% of men including 5.5% of men aged 18-49 and 1% of men aged 50+.

New Zealand Government Confidence Rating is lowest for older men at only 61

Roy Morgan New Zealand Government Confidence Rating fell by 2.5pts to 73.5 in September-October.

Among women overall now a majority of 54% (up 0.5% points) say ‘New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’, while only 34% (up 2% points) say New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ – a Government Confidence Rating of only 80 (up 1.5pts). The Government Confidence Rating for women aged 18-49 was down 2.5pts to 79.5 while it was up 5pts to 80 for women aged 50+.

A clear majority of men, 61% (up 2.5% points) say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’ while only 28% (down 4% points), say New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ – a Government Confidence Rating of only 67 (down 6.5pts). The Government Confidence Rating of younger men aged 18-49 was down 11.5pts to 72 while for older men aged 50+ it was down 1.5pts to only 61.

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says NZ First and long-time leader Winston Peters have again emerged as the central focus in the run-up to this weekend’s New Zealand election with the party set to return to Government supporting a National-led Government and National-leader Christopher Luxon on track to be New Zealand’s new Prime Minister:

Block Quote

“The New Zealand election is once again on a knife-edge with neither major party (Labour or National) set to secure a majority of seats with their preferred coalition partners this weekend.

“The right-leaning National and ACT have the support of 42% of electors (up 8.8% points since the 2020 New Zealand Election) and are just ahead of the governing and left-leaning Labour-Greens coalition on 41% (down 16.9% points since the last election).

“These levels of support would lead to National and ACT winning about 54 seats in Parliament compared to Labour and the Greens on about 52 seats – with both short of the governing majority of 61 seats in the 121 seat Parliament.

“Once again it is a late surging New Zealand First which is set to decide who the country’s next Prime Minister will be with the party now on 7.5% support – up 2% points since August and up 4.9% points since the 2020 New Zealand Election at which the party failed to win any seats.

“This level of support would secure New Zealand First about 10 seats in the new Parliament and a key role in determining the shape of the new Government. Importantly, both Labour and New Zealand First have ruled out working together after the election leaving National and ACT in prime position to conclude a governing deal with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

“Support for New Zealand First has increased rapidly over the last year since bottoming out at only 1% support in September 2022. The rise in support for New Zealand First has come at the expense of the two major parties – both National and Labour – as well as the libertarian ACT.

“The last Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll showed ACT surging to a high of 18% support in August, however a series of scandals involving their candidates over the last two months has seen support for the party dive by 6.5% points to 11.5% as the election campaign heated up.

“Since naming their candidate list earlier this year ACT has lost six candidates for various reasons including historic comments about vaccine mandates, disparaging remarks about former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and undisclosed personal reasons.

“This week New Zealanders will elect 120 members of Parliament and the Port Waikato by-election later in the year will elect an additional member of Parliament taking the total to 121 seats.

“Support for Labour has taken the biggest fall since the last New Zealand election, down by over 20% points to only 26% in this final Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll. The drop in support for Labour has clearly drifted in many different directions, including to the Greens – now on 15% and set to be the third largest party in the New Zealand Parliament.

“Support for the Maori Party has failed to build on its levels earlier this year and as the election has drawn closer their support has dropped to only 3%. The increasingly left-of-centre party is set to be returned to Parliament but without any impact on the new government formed after the election.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan’s New Zealand Voting Data and profiles of supporters of Labour, National and other parties, please contact:

Roy Morgan Enquiries
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2
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