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Who do New Zealanders prefer to lead the country?

10 Dec 16

Who do New Zealanders prefer to lead the country?
Bill English ... 45% of New Zealanders, 53% of National voters prefer him

The day after John Key’s announcement that he was resigning as Prime Minister, Horizon Research asked New Zealanders who they preferred the National Party to choose as the next Prime Minister of New Zealand.  They were also asked who they did not want to become Prime Minister on December 12.

Here's what they told us:

Prime Minister

The most preferred candidate was Bill English45% overall and 58% of those who cast their party vote for the National Party in 2014 said he was their preference as Prime Minister. 

Second preference was Judith Collins, with 8% support overall and the preferred candidate for 11% of those who voted for the National Party in 2014.  Among 2014 National Party voters, Steven Joyce was third preference, followed by Amy Adams and Jonathan Coleman.

More than half of 2014 National Party voters in the survey were opposed to Maggie Barry (59%), nor Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga (54%), Gerry Brownlee (53%) or Judith Collins (52%) becoming Prime Minister on December 12.

Deputy Prime Minister
Paula Bennett was the most preferred Deputy Prime Minister among those who voted for the National Party in the 2014 general election overall (20%) and was also the most preferred overall (14% of all respondents).

Finance Minister

Bill English was the most preferred Finance Minster (42% overall and 53% of 2014 National Party supporters). 

Steven Joyce was the second most preferred (13% overall and 21% of 2014 National Party supporters), and among 2014 National Party voters, Jonathan Coleman was third most preferred, with 5% selecting him as their preferred Finance Minister.

Effect of John Key's resignation on voting

Among 2014 National Party supporters:

  • 5% said the resignation made it more likely that they would vote for the National Party at the next general election.
  • 70% said it had made no difference to their party vote.
  • 14% said they were less likely to vote for National as a result of the resignation.
  • 10% were unsure.

The survey, of 1,466 adults nationwide on 6 and 7 December, 2016, represents the New Zealand 18+ population at the last census and has a margin of error of +/- 2.7%.

For further information from Horizon please contact:

Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research


Telephone: +64 21 076 2040