Te Pāti Māori is in a "very strong flexing position" following the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll, says political editor Jessica Mutch McKay.
May's 1News Kantar Public Poll revealed National is still on top and Labour has dipped again in terms of party support.
The results put Te Pāti Māori at the centre of building a Government, with co-leader Rawiri Waititi telling 1News on Monday they "want to come up with a process with the major parties that's more Te Tiriti-centric".
He has previously told 1News that they will not go with any party not committed to constitutional transformation or a Tiriti-centric Aotearoa.
Translated into seats in Parliament, the party support result would give National 51 seats and ACT 9, a combined total of 60. Labour would have 45, the Greens 13, a total of 58. If Te Pāti Māori with 2 seats joined them, those 3 parties would also have a total of 60. If it joined National and ACT, they would have 62 altogether.
Mutch McKay told Breakfast on Tuesday "things are very, very tight at the moment", so neither party can form a Government with just its traditional partners.
"You could either have the Māori Party in the Kingmaker position with ACT and National – very unlikely they could work with ACT and probably not with National either – or they could cause a hung Parliament which would mean we'd have to go back to the polls," Mutch McKay said.
Mutch McKay said on Tuesday Te Pāti Māori's Rawiri Waititi would be relishing his power position.
"I think that's really important. That means he can get gains for the things he thinks are important," Mutch McKay said.
"But I also think that he made a big point that they do well on the crossbenches. I think probably, like perhaps New Zealand First and Winston Peters, they feel comfortable in those Opposition benches. They feel like they can do a lot by putting up their ideas and by putting up alternatives."
"I think the Māori Party will be feeling in a very strong flexing position at the moment," Mutch McKay said.
In that poll, National overtook Labour for the first time since the pandemic.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's preferred PM rating slipped slightly to 33%, so she's only 8% in front of National party leader Christopher Luxon.
His 25% rating is the highest preferred PM result for a National leader since former Prime Minister Sir Bill English. Ardern has dropped to her lowest preferred PM result since before she became Prime Minister.
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