TODAY |

What rough patch? National and Key riding high in ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll

Nearly a year on from its election victory and National is continuing to ride high in the polls.

This month's ONE News Colmar Brunton poll has National unchanged at 47 per cent, the same amount it attained at the election.

Labour meanwhile has improved on its disastrous election result and now seems to have a firm hold above the 30 per cent mark.

It's held steady in this month's poll at 32 per cent. The Greens have slipped a point this month to 12 per cent, New Zealand First is steady on seven, while the Maori Party is up one.

Economic challenges plus the Serco and Saudi sheep controversies have done nothing to dent National Party support according to a fresh poll. Source: 1 NEWS

The poll was carried out between the 29th of August and 2nd of September.

The result will be a big confidence boost to National and John Key as it follows a rough few months for the government.

It's had to grapple with a number of scandals, involving the Saudi Sheep farm deal, workplace safety laws, and revelations of fight clubs and other breaches at the Serco-run private prison at Mt Eden. 

National has also had to contend with growing debate about the health of the economy and whether it has the right plan to cope with falling dairy prices and a weakening Chinese economy.

But while National doesn't appear to be suffering at the polls from the weakening economy yet, Kiwis are getting more worried about the economy.

Pessimism that the economic outlook won't improve over the next 12 months has increased four points in this month’s poll to 45 per cent.

Those who are optimistic things will get better are down three per cent to 33 per cent.

Mr Key's personal approval ratings also continue to ride high. He's steady at 40 per cent this month.

Andrew Little is way behind, although back in double figures up two points to 10 per cent.

Winston Peters is down one to six per cent while Jacinda Ardern is on three per cent.

But while, on these numbers, National would appear to be as strong as ever, big challenges remain, particularly around the economy which is being severely tested at the moment.

Growth is slowing to somewhere around two per cent and, while cuts in the Official Cash Rate and a falling dollar will help soften the blow, economists warn there is a growing risk, albeit a small one, that the economy could stall and tip into recession.  

Much will depend on the health of the Chinese economy in coming months and whether there is any significant rebound in global milk prices.

And local weather could play its part.

New Zealand is forecast to have an El Nino weather pattern this summer, which traditionally brings an increased risk of drought.  

Then there's the personal challenge for Mr Key of the flag change referendum. He's invested a lot personally in the push for change and, while success could cement a legacy, there is a big risk that a failed referendum; with a very weak turnout, will rub off on him poorly.