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New Zealand's new opposition Labour party leader, Jacinda Ardern, speaks during an event held ahead of the national election at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ross Setford


WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's Labour Party on Thursday retained its position as frontrunner in an election set for Sept. 23, with a poll showing its support edged up, threatening the centre-right National Party's ten-year hold on power.

Backing for the Labour Party rose 1 point to 44 percent, the One News-Colmar Brunton poll showed, while support for the National Party also gained one point, putting it at 40 percent.

The nationalist New Zealand First Party fell 2 points to 6 percent, making it less likely that Labour would need the populist party to form a coalition government after the election.

The New Zealand dollar was largely unchanged, softening slightly to $0.7247 from $0.7250 shortly before the release of the poll results.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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