New Zealand’s National Party looks to cement lead 30 days out from election
By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Thirty days out from New Zealand’s general election, recent polls show the opposition party National cementing its lead, as both parties are on the campaign trail trying to win over voters with proposed tax cuts and funding for infrastructure.
A 1News Verian poll released late on Wednesday saw support for centre-right National up 2 percentage point to 39%, while the ruling Labour Party saw support fall 1 percentage point to 28%. The poll gives National and likely partner ACT a majority in parliament following the Oct. 14 election.
It noted that a total of 10% of those surveyed did not know who they would vote for or refused to say.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told media on Thursday that he was not concerned by current polling results.
“No one’s voted yet, plenty of time,” he said when asked about poll results.
Labour on Thursday announced extra funding for roads in the South Island to ensure they can stand up to future weather events.
National announced plans to loosen restrictions around building storage on farms to capture fresh water and make it easier for farmers to grow vegetables.
“When farmers are strong, New Zealand is strong, and national understands that and that’s why we back farmers so strongly,” National leader Christopher Luxon said at the launch of the policy.
However, National’s plan to increase the country’s tax take by allowing foreigners, currently banned, to buy houses worth more than NZ$2 million ($1.18 million) and tax those purchases at 15% has been criticised by several economists, who argue it will not bring it as much revenue as the party claims.
Luxon said he stood by the numbers and was excited by the idea of raising funds from wealthy foreigners buying luxury homes in New Zealand.
($1 = 1.6880 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Stephen Coates)