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Watch: Jacinda and Bill get hit up over startling 1 NEWS poll moments into the debate – so how did they handle it?

Jacinda Ardern kept her cool on stage during tonight's leaders debate as she was told Labour was four points ahead of National in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll.

The Labour Party widened its lead over National, standing at 43 percent, compared to National that dipped to 39 percent. 

New Zealand First is up one point to 9 per cent, while the Green Party remains on 5 per cent, meaning they would just scrape into Parliament.

The Maori Party is up one point to 2 per cent, as is The Opportunities Party.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has nudged higher in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, up one point to 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, National leader Bill English has dropped two points to 31 per cent as preferred Prime Minister, and New Zealand First's Winston Peters has climbed one point to 5 per cent.

Kicking off the Stuff Leaders Debate in Christchurch, the leaders were told the results on stage and Jacinda was asked what her preferred coalition mix is if Labour is to be elected. 

"Well of course the voters determine that first and foremost," Ms Ardern answered.

"We have said that we share many values with the Green Party, that's what the Memorandum of Understanding was all about. So we would make the first phone call there but ultimately voters will decide.

"My word is my bond."

National's Bill English didn't look rattled over the results, telling the audience he wasn't particularly worried about his parties drop. 

"As we get closer to the election, people are starting to see with some clarity the choice," Mr English said. 

"They haven't had a choice, a real choice for a long time.

"So we are seeing more people than ever engaged in this election and more focus on policy and plans for the future than we have had in other elections."

National has taken a dip in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, trailing four points behind Labour at 39 per cent. Source: Fairfax

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New Poll: Labour widens lead over National to 4 points in latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll

The Labour Party has widened its lead over National to four points in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll out tonight, registering an approval rating of 43 per cent to National's 39 per cent.

Labour's standing at 43 per cent remains the same as the last 1 News Colmar Brunton poll one week ago, but National has dropped two points to 39 per cent.

New Zealand First is up one point to 9 per cent, while the Green Party remains on 5 per cent, meaning they would just scrape into Parliament.

The Maori Party is up one point to 2 per cent, as is The Opportunities Party. 

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has nudged higher in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, up one point to 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, National leader Bill English has dropped two points to 31 per cent as preferred Prime Minister, and New Zealand First's Winston Peters has climbed one point to 5 per cent.

Ms Ardern says she's happy with the result but realises the polls could fluctuate between now and the election.

"Yeah, no certainly pleased to see that people still are putting their support behind us but I still continue to believe that this will be an incredibly tight race," she told 1 NEWS today.

Mr English said the latest poll did not reflect what he was seeing on the campaign trail.

"It doesn't feel like that on the ground. Look this is a drag race and people are starting to look at Labour's policies," Mr English said

The latest poll result comes after the second leaders debate on Monday, which saw Mr English commit to a target to reduce child poverty and Ms Ardern promise to retaliate against Australia if it continues to take away entitlements of Kiwis living across the ditch.

The latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll was conducted between September 2-6 and included 1007 eligible voters.

The maximum sampling error is approximately 3.1 percentage points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Political Editor Corin Dann breaks down what new poll result means for election. Source: 1 NEWS