The odds are favouring the National Party for another term in government, but only just, according to predictions by the Victoria University's political market website iPredict.
The first iPredict snapshot of the 2014 general election suggests a very slight advantage to incumbent prime minister John Key, most probably leading a National/Conservative/UnitedFuture government, with or without the Maori Party.
Overall, the market gives a 53.3% probability of a National prime minister after the next election and a 45.1% probability of a Labour prime minister.
According to the snapshot, taken at 9.32am today, National is expected to win 43.0% of the party vote, the Labour Party 34.5% and the Green Party 9.5%.
National’s advantage here compares with the last ONE News/Colmar Brunton Poll, taken in October, which had the party polling 45% support.
iPredict indicates no other parties are expected to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system. The Conservative and NZ First parties are both expected to win 4.6% of the party vote, the Maori Party 1.5%, Act 1.3%, Mana 0.7%, UnitedFuture 0.6% and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 0.3%.
Stocks for the proposed Civilian and Kim Dotcom parties will be launched in the near future, iPredict says.
Based on iPredict’s forecasts parliament would consist of National with 54 MPs, Labour 44 MPs, Greens 12 MPs, the Conservative Party 6 MPs, the Maori Party 2 MPs, UnitedFuture 1 MPs and Mana 1 MP, for a total of 120 MPs.
A government is required to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply.
Under this scenario, National, the Conservative Party and UnitedFuture could form a government with 61 MPs. Were the Maori Party involved, such a government would be supported by 63 MPs.
Were the Conservative Party not to win an electorate seat, a Labour/Green/Maori Party/Mana government could be formed with 62 MPs.
The election is most likely to be held in November, according to iPredict.
Meanwhile, economic growth is expected to be strong during the year, but with rising interest rates.