(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand's new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has boosted his party's chances at this year's election, with a poll showing him neck-and-neck with his opponents less than eight months out from the ballot.
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Support for Hipkins' Labour Party rose 5 percentage points to 38% in a 1News/Kantar poll published Monday in Wellington, while the main opposition National Party fell 1 point to 37%. National's ally the ACT Party had 10% support, and Hipkins' partner the Green Party fell to 7%.
If the results were replicated at the election on Oct. 14, both major parties would lack the majority required to form a government and would need to negotiate with minor parties.
Hipkins was sworn in as New Zealand's 41st prime minister on Jan. 25, less than a week after Jacinda Ardern's shock resignation. Labour had slipped in the polls last year amid a cost-of-living crisis and Ardern's personal support had dropped to the lowest since she won the 2017 election.
At his first news conference, Hipkins said he would prioritize the economy and may jettison some of Ardern's policies as he seeks to win back the political middle ground. He is also working on a cabinet reshuffle that could be announced as soon as Tuesday.
In the contest for preferred prime minister, Hipkins polled 23% support while National Party leader Christopher Luxon fell to 22% from 23%.
The survey of 1,001 eligible voters was conducted Jan. 25-29 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Ardern announced she was standing down on Jan. 19, saying she no longer had "enough in the tank" to continue as leader.
Another poll published Monday by Newshub-Reid Research showed Labour support jumped to 38% from 32.3% while National fell to 36.6% from 40.7%.
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