In what could be a comeback story of the New Zealand 2011 general elections, Winston Peter’s New Zealand First party has come within 0.1 of a percentage point of having enough to reach the 5% threshold required to have MP’s in parliament in the latest Herald-Digipoll. It is a massive turnaround from a party that was facing the brink of death months ago. And it is not surprising that this massive turnaround has been spurred by the teapot tape scandal involving John Key and John Banks conversation in Parnell.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is rising from the political grave and is within a whisker of returning to Parliament and possibly holding the balance of power.
The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows his party on 4.9 per cent support, just short of the 5 per cent threshold required to have MPs in Parliament without winning an electorate seat.
The 1.2 percentage-point jump gives the party its highest rating this election campaign.
Aubrey Young reported in the article – Poll Shock: Winston within a whisker on the NZ Herald website
But in a horror scenario for National – and one that is not far-fetched – small movements in numbers could have big consequences.
The poll shows the number of undecided voters is up to 12.7 per cent.
If Labour lost just 0.1 per cent to New Zealand First, and Act lost Epsom, Act would be out of Parliament, and National and United Future would not have a majority.
Mr Peters would return to Parliament leading a team of six MPs, including former North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams and former TV weatherman Brendan Horan.
If Mr Peters kept his word – given on November 6 – not to support National or Labour, then National and United Future could govern with 62 votes – five more than the 57 Labour could muster with the Greens, the Maori Party and Mana.
It should be an interesting final push to election day.