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Jacinda Ardern on track to win October election

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern looks set for a historic win in next month's election - according to an opinion poll published Tuesday (September 22).

The 1News-Colmar Brunton poll showed support for Labour at 48%, down 5 percentage points since the last poll in late July.

But the results mean Labour would still get 62 of the 120 parliament seats and would be able to govern alone.

On Tuesday (September 22), Ardern and opposition leader Judith Collins went head to head in their first live debate ahead of next month's election.

"You know, everyday we will be out there earning every single vote, working hard to get the support of New Zealanders. So I take nothing for granted, I take no poll for granted and we will keep working everyday of this campaign and you will see no complacency for us and no assumptions."

40-year-old Ardern became the world's youngest female leader in 2017 - and holds huge global appeal due to her response to last year's terror attack by a white supremacist in Christchurch as well as the country's response to COVID-19.

But Collins, a former lawyer, has appealed to voters to think instead about the country's lacklustre economy, and what she calls Ardern's broken promises to fix a housing crisis and tackle child poverty.

"This election is the most important election in generations and the reason is, you're going to have a stark contrast about whether or not we muddle along and have lots of hopeful thoughts and statements or whether or not you vote for a party that has a plan. And that plan is to build our economy, we can do it if we have the plan and we have that in place.''

It was the first of four debates planned between the two women ahead of the October 17 election, which was delayed by a month because of the pandemic.