New Zealand Nationalist Peters Set for Kingmaker Role, Poll Says

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(Bloomberg) -- Maverick New Zealand politician Winston Peters could return from the wilderness to once again be the kingmaker after next month’s election, according to the latest opinion poll.

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Support for Peters’ nationalist New Zealand First Party rose to 6% in a 1News/Verian poll published Wednesday in Wellington, above the 5% required to get back into parliament. The main opposition National Party, which fell one percentage point to 36% in the poll, would need the support of Peters and the ACT Party, on 12%, to reach a majority in parliament.

The ruling Labour Party, which fell 1 point to 26%, has no route to retaining power on these poll results. Labour’s share of the vote combined with the Green Party’s 13% and the Maori Party’s 2% isn’t enough for a majority. Unlike National, Labour has ruled out working with Peters to form a government. The election will be held on Oct. 14.

A return to parliament for New Zealand First would be a stunning comeback for Peters. The 78-year-old’s political career looked over when his party failed to get over the 5% threshold at the previous election in 2020.

Peters, who first entered parliament in 1979, founded New Zealand First in 1993 and has supported both National and Labour administrations since then. His roles have included deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon will be hoping these poll results aren’t replicated at the election. Peters and ACT leader David Seymour dislike each other and a three-way governing arrangement could be difficult to manage.

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