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Economics, not politics: Former PM Sir John Key proposes theory explaining TV poll

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Former Prime Minister and National leader Sir John Key believes last night’s poll showing the coalition Government wouldn’t be re-elected can be explained by the concern Kiwis have for the economy.

The 1News Verian poll had National at 36 per cent, down two points from the last poll in February. Labour jumped to 30 per cent, up two, and the Green Party also increased by two to 14 per cent. Te Pāti Māori was on 4 per cent, the same as the last poll.

Based on those numbers, the left bloc would be able to form a government and NZ First would be out of Parliament without an electorate seat.

Key told the Herald he didn’t think yesterday’s poll solely reflected on the Government’s political agenda.

“I believe, that the results of the poll reflect general apprehension, concern, and in some cases fear, that New Zealanders have for the economy at the moment.

“The pressure that they’re feeling within the economy is what’s causing slight erosion of support for the Government.

“I think it’s less about politics and more about economics.”

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key caused quite a stir in the House today. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Former Prime Minister Sir John Key caused quite a stir in the House today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He also felt the coalition was operating well, despite one recent example of public disagreement between Act leader David Seymour and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

“The coalition seems to be working effectively, they seem to be supporting one another.

“It’s always going to have challenges when you have a three-way coalition because it’s new territory and you have more moving parts, but actually, the evidence for the first six months of the Government has been it’s been working effectively together.”

Key, who resigned as PM in 2016, made a rare re-appearance in the House today and watched on as the politicians took shots at each other during Question Time.

He received a shout-out from Seymour, who commented on how the former PM must not have much to do these days.

Key denied his return to Parliament was to give Luxon tips, explaining he was taking his former staff members out for dinner.

Adam Pearse is a political reporter in the NZ Herald Press Gallery team, based at Parliament. He has worked for NZME since 2018, covering sport and health for the Northern Advocate in Whangārei before moving to the NZ Herald in Auckland, covering Covid-19 and crime.

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