With daily COVID cases still soaring at well over 5000 a day for a country with a population of just under a million, New Zealand’s incumbent Labour party had now lost its lead in polling to the center-right National Party.

With an annual inflation rate of 5.9%, driven in large part by housing inflation peaking near 30% late last year, protests against the Labour’s lack of commitment to control cost of living and the pandemic have been a symptom of their troubles.

New Zealand faces an election in the next 20 months, and Labour’s choice to put the tourism industry above public health may threaten to cost them the next election. Still, the next year may bring more unexpected changes to the region, making such predictions speculative.