Roy Morgan Research
May 03, 2021

New Zealand Government lead over Opposition down to 14% in April – smallest lead since January 2020

Topic: Federal Poll, Press Release
Finding No: 8699
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The Labour/Greens government support is down 2.5% points to 55% in April. Support for the Labour Party dropped 4% points to 41.5% in April (its lowest level of support since February 2020 prior to the pandemic) while support for the Greens was up 1.5% points to 13.5%.

The governing parties are now 14% points ahead of the Parliamentary opposition National/Act NZ/Maori Party on 41%, up 6% points since March. Support for National has now recovered to its highest since last year’s election, up 6.5% points to 29.5%, and is the highest for exactly a year since April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recovery in support for National has come from both the Labour Party and fellow Opposition Party Act NZ, now on 9%, down 2% points from March. Support for the Maori Party has increased and is up by 1.5% points to post-election high of 2.5% in April.

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 933 electors during April. Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” Of all electors surveyed there were 6% (up 1.5% points) who didn’t name a party.

Labour/Greens (55%) lead over opposition National/Act NZ/Maori (41%) cut to 14% points

In April 55% of electors supported the Labour/Greens governing partnership, down 2.5% points on March. The governing parties are now 14% points ahead of the Parliamentary opposition National/Act NZ/Maori Party on 41%, up 6% points since March.

This is the narrowest lead for the Labour-led Government for over a year since January 2020 when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Government led 53% cf. 43% over the National-led Opposition.

A small minority of 4% of electors support other minor parties outside Parliament with support for NZ First down 1.5% points to 1% and The Opportunities Party (TOP) down 1.5% points to 0.5% in April.

New Zealand Government Confidence Rating virtually unchanged at 136 in April

In April a slightly increased majority of 62.5% of New Zealand electors (up 1% point) said New Zealand was ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to just over a quarter, 26.5% (up 0.5% points) who said New Zealand was ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says the New Zealand-Australia travel bubble finally opened in mid-April, however the restored availability of quarantine free holidays in Australia hasn’t provided a boost to the Government as other issues come to the fore:

“The long-awaited travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia finally opened on April 19 but the re-opened borders haven’t provided a boost to the Ardern Government with other issues dominating the discussion in recent weeks.

“Opposition Leader Judith Collins has criticised the Government’s proposed reforms to New Zealand’s Health System which will scrap the existing 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) to be replaced with by a single national authority known as ‘Health NZ’.

“Health NZ will operate four regional divisions and there will be a separate Maori Health Authority (MHA) empowered to develop health policy and commission health services specifically for Maori. Collins has criticised the proposal as she claims health issues stem from poverty rather than race and segregating the health system along racial lines will not address these issues.

“Also in the headlines has been New Zealand’s stance on China and its contrast with its allies in the Five Eyes alliance including the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand was uncomfortable using the Five Eyes intelligence and security network to define New Zealand’s relationship with China and stated that New Zealand needs to ‘maintain and respect the particular customs, traditions and values’ held by China.

“There has been pushback from MPs in close allies the UK and Australia on Mahuta’s statement particularly as it relates to alleged human rights abuses by the Chinese Government against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang. The opposition Act NZ party is set to introduce a resolution to Parliament in early May that declares China’s oppression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang as an ‘act of genocide’ which will put a further spotlight on the Government’s position on the issue.

“These issues have clearly dented support for the Labour/Greens coalition and the latest Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll shows they have the support of 55% of electors in April, down 2.5% points from March and only 14% points ahead of the National-led Opposition on 41% - the narrowest margin since January 2020 pre-pandemic.”

New Zealand Party Vote: 2020-21

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January 2020 – April 2021. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 925.

New Zealand Party Vote: NZ Govt. v Parliamentary Opposition

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January 2020 – April 2021. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 925.

Roy Morgan NZ Government Confidence Rating vs. ANZ-Roy Morgan NZ Consumer Confidence

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January 2020 – April 2021. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 925.

Voting Intention Summary

The following table compares the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Polls on Voting Intention with the result from the September 23, 2017 General Election:

PARTY VOTELabourGreen Party*NationalACT NZMaori Party**TOP**NZ FirstOther
October 12, 1996*28.1910.1033.876.10n/an/a13.358.39
November 27, 199938.745.1630.507.04n/an/a4.2614.30
July 27, 200241.267.0020.937.14n/an/a10.3813.29
September 17, 200541.105.3039.101.512.12n/a5.725.15
November 8, 200833.996.7244.933.652.39n/a4.074.25
November 26, 201127.4811.0647.311.071.43n/a6.595.06
September 20, 2014  25.1310.7047.040.691.32n/a8.666.46
September 23, 201736.896.2744.450.501.182.447.201.07
October 17, 202050.017.8625.587.591.171.512.603.70
January 20204010.54031.50.52.52
February 202040.510.5373.511.551
March 202042.511.5373.50.5131
April 202055730.
May 202056.5726.53.51.512.51.5
June 202054.5927511.51.50.5
July 202053.5826.
August 20204811.528.560.512.52
September 202047.59.528.570.51.52.53
NZ Election 2020507.925.
November 20204412.525.510.5121.53
December 20204410.528102221.5
January 20214711.525921.522
February 20214513.5297.5111.51.5
March 202145.5122311122.53
April 202141.513.529.592.50.512.5

*The 1996 Election was the first New Zealand Election contested via MMP (Mixed Member Proportional). At the 1996 Election the Greens Party contested as part of the “Alliance” political grouping with four other political parties. **The Maori Party was launched in July 2004. The Opportunities Party (TOP) was launched in November 2016.

Two-Party Preferred: Labour Party-led Government vs. Parliamentary Opposition Parties

Labour Party-led Government
(Labour, Greens)
Opposition Parties
(National, Act NZ & Maori)
NZ Election, October 17, 2020*57.8734.33
Labour wins the NZ Election and, despite securing a majority of seats in Parliament,
signs a ‘Cooperation Agreement’ with the Greens – October 31, 2020
November 202056.537
December 202054.540
January 202158.536
February 202158.537.5
March 202157.535
April 20215541

*At the 2020 NZ Election the Labour party secured 50.01% of the vote which was enough to govern in their own right but Labour opted to sign a ‘Cooperation Agreement’ with the Greens, who won 7.86% of the vote. There were three Parties elected to Parliament not in Government led by National (25.58%), Act NZ (7.59%) and the Maori Party (1.17%).

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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