Jacinda Ardern’s popularity dips to lowest since becoming Prime Minister as election battle looms

A poll carried out among New Zealanders, showed that 30 percent of people believed Ms Ardern to be the preferred candidate for PM

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Jacinda Ardern’s popularity has dropped to the lowest it’s been since becoming Prime Minister as an election battle looms.

A poll carried out among New Zealanders, showed that 30 percent of people believed Ms Ardern to be the preferred candidate for PM, down from the 33 percent in May.

The figure is the lowest it’s been since Ms Ardern took over as Prime Minister in 2017.

But while the Labour leader’s popularity has dropped, she is still preferred to National’s Chris Luxon, who picked up 22 percent of the vote in the poll by 1 News and Kantar.

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern

National and Labour both dropped in popularity since May, picking up 37 percent and 33 percent respectively in a separate party poll.

But despite the drop, National and Act, who picked up 11 percent of the vote, seemingly have enough votes to form a coalition Government.

The next general election will take place no later than January 2024.

Mr Ardern has been under growing pressure as the country attempts to tackle the growing cost-of-living crisis.

While recently, she sparked backlash after she was photographed maskless with a crowd of 100-plus people just days after New Zealand's Government called on citizens to wear face coverings.

Ms Ardern's popularity has dropped, according to a poll
Ms Ardern's popularity has dropped, according to a poll

Ms Ardern posted the picture to social media, posing alongside numerous MPs and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro for a Youth Parliament event.

She wrote: "Every few years, politicians in New Zealand are replaced by young people.

"It’s called Youth Parliament, and involves everything that parliament usually entails – select committees, question time, press conferences and a general debate – except with young people taking over our roles.

"It’s such a fantastic programme, and always leaves me with great hope.

"Not because these are our 'leaders of tomorrow', but because these young people are already out there being leaders in their own right now.

"So thanks Youth Parliament 2022, for letting me be a part of your day today."

The image immediately sparked backlash.

Professor Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at Otago University, said it was disappointing to see "leaders not leading by example".

He told the New Zealand Herald: "There is an added responsibility for our leaders to wear masks when being photographed or in public settings to lead by example, this was a missed opportunity to normalise mask-use."

A spokesperson for Ms Ardern said others in the photo had been wearing their masks, but briefly removed them at the request of the photographer.

Just last week, her government announced a push to boost accessibility to Rapid Antigen Tests and masks to help curb the spread of Covid.