September 23 named as election date; Prime Minister says National would again work with Act, United Future and Maori Party; would talk to Winston, but NZ First 'an unlikely partner'

September 23 named as election date; Prime Minister says National would again work with Act, United Future and Maori Party; would talk to Winston, but NZ First 'an unlikely partner'

New Zealanders will go to the polls on 23 September, Prime Minister Bill English announced today.

Sticking with a precedent of announcing the date early set by predecessor John Key, English said the date was partly chosen to allow whoever is Prime Minister after the election to represent New Zealand at the APEC and East Asian summits towards the end of the year.

The Prime Minister noted National would likely require to enter another coalition government in order to govern due to the nature of MMP.

English said his preference is to stick with current coalition partners, Act, United Future and the Maori Party.

National will likely follow the formula of helping Act and UF leaders, Peter Dunne and David Seymour, to win their electorate seats, English said. 

"You could expect us to stick with a formula that's worked pretty well for us and stable government," he said.

English said he would also be prepared to negotiate with New Zealand First depending on the make up of parliament, although the party is an "unlikely partner".

He ruled out working with The Greens and Labour.

English criticised the Greens’ approach to working with the National-led government in the past, saying they became too ideological after initial successes, including their joint home insulation scheme. It would be “easier to do a coalition with Labour than the Greens,” he said.

Meanwhile, English would not be drawn on whether he would accept New Zealand First leader Winston Peters as his Deputy Prime Minister, if Peters demanded the position in return for a confidence and supply agreement.

He also tried to play down the prospects of requiring NZF as a coalition partner, saying Peters’ inward-looking party stood in contrast to National’s more open stance on certain policies. English did say though that the current government has been looking at New Zealand’s immigration settings and that there will likely be some small adjustments made this year.

Economy key; Could look at improving incomes

The election is set to be fought with the economy as the central pillar, English said. National will continue to outline where any surplus cash in the government coffers will be allocated, he said.

English noted the government’s announcement last year to increase capital spending from NZD 1.5bn to NZD 3bn. Excess cash will also be used to pay down government debt, he said. There might then be an “opportunity for doing something about incomes across the board,” he added.

Opposition ready to go

In reaction to the election date being announced, Labour Party leader Andrew Little said his party was raring to go.

“We can’t wait to start campaigning on what Kiwis are worried about today. We urgently need to fix the housing crisis to make first homes more affordable, help Kiwis get the health care they need and build the world class education system parents expect for their kids,” Little said.

The Green Party also called for a change in government. “After eight years under National, carbon emissions have soared and inequality has skyrocketed. 1 in 4 Kiwi kids are living in poverty with more and more families living in their cars or on the streets,” co-leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw said.

New Zealand First’s Winston Peters also said the party is ready: “All our planning and key events, such as the campaign launch and the annual convention, are set around this date. It suits us fine.”

Meanwhile, Act's David Seymour said the party is in its best shape in years: “ACT will campaign on unleashing the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of New Zealanders by removing petty regulation, reducing tax burdens, and fostering entrepreneurship," he said.

“ACT will also lay out its plan to tackle poverty with more jobs and higher incomes, affordable housing, and greater opportunities in education. We will ensure Bill English remains Prime Minister while addressing the issues John Key neglected.

“I also appreciate the Prime Minister’s stating his preference to work with ACT, first before any other parties. This should help my campaign in Epsom, however I don’t take anyone’s vote for granted, and will campaign hard in the electorate on my record as an active and committed local MP.”

(Update adds extra English comments on Greens, plans for surplus cash and NZ First, comments from other parties).

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Why so soon , we are going to be in limbo for the next 8 months .

why in limbo? don't we have government now , which is the one that was voted in last election.

Game on then! Whilst not particularly a Labour/Green supporter I think it's time for them to do all they can to bury the coat-tailer's ACT and UF. If a party has policy and ideology worth implementing let them win their own seats without the help of a sugar-daddy.

We'll have National running the house for another 3 years.. Yayy!

It sounds bad, but I just can't wait to see Bill lose another election.

"You could expect us to stick with a formula that's worked pretty well for us and stable government," he said."

Not even a consideration as to whether it's worked for New Zealand. He needs to spend a day in A&E;


Well said. I can't stand ACT and I would love to see the back of Dunne. I will happily admit that I have become greener as I have grown older and while there still many Green policies with which I would take issue,I want them to have a stronger presence in parliament. This will enable them to push their environmental policies more forcefully.
One day,we will look back and wonder at the folly of ever increasing intensive dairy farming.That is not where NZ's future lies.

Dunne will be running against Greg O'Connor, long-time head of the Police Association. If competence and integrity play any part in this, Greg should bury him.

I too have been growing greener as I age. But I won't be voting for the Green Party. The Green party are not green. They are a watermelon party, green on the outside and red on the inside.


By red,I assume you mean that they are inherently communist-forced redistribution etc. If so,what evidence do you have for that? If not,what do you mean?
if,as you say,you have become greener,whose environmental policies do you support?

I support a natural environment that will be here in a million years. And a hundred million years. And I have an idiosyncratic interest in landscape. Hard to see any party with those as a priority.

Where is the Blue-Green party, i.e. instead of the Red-Green party we have now.

The only green Blue believes in is money.

Capitalism and environmental issues are not a natural fit

It feels like the US election. A bunch of people no-one actually wants in, but we have to vote for one of them.

The question isn't who will be first, rather who won't be last.

You don't have to vote for any of them.Your choice.

I agree - It's a choice I have made on numerous occasions.

Just shows that 3 years is too short for a term. A third of the term is wasted electioneering before the election, which is the best part of a year away. Then after the election it isn't long till the xmas break.

I am coming around to a 4 year term. It does seem to make more sense than a 3 year one.

I would also like to see a fixed election date. 3rd Saturday in September, 2nd Saturday in October or something - any date is fine really.

Surely it can't be that hard to manage.

Yes 4 years, I like that, and it would save a truckload of money!

I concur. It also brings us in line with other countries, including the US.

The reason it isn't longer like in the US is that there is no upper/lower house of parliament, so less checks and balances to get in the way of a rogue government. It is why Obama couldn't get much of what he wanted done, as congress would always block it.

MMP is it's own checks and balances system. Hardly anything gets done now as it really only takes 1 coalition partner to reject something.

Hi all, have updated with a few extra comments from the press conference,

A busy first day back at! Good to see the debate's still going strong.


I think National already has this election won. Labour/Greens just don't look like a credible government in waiting and it looks like the Greens are dominating Labour more and more. This steady shift to the hard left won't do Labour any favours.

Little will put on a brave face but he must know that the ship is sinking. Unfortunately for Labour, they didn't give a clear out of the party in 2008, 2011, 2014, or 2017. Yet, we see again National will probably refresh the party with 10 or so new MPs, as they did at the previous elections. Labour does not come across as authentic in their approach.

I am not so sure. I think this election will be about the smaller parties.

Labour and National have been in power on and off for the last 100 years. The only real policies either of them have, is "We will oppose what ever the other one thinks of"

I don't want to see a Trump level scare, but Winnie as head of the opposition might be enough of a shakeup to get the big two back on track.

Looking at Ohairu, I think Dunne may still hold it. He seems to come with a left field gem every election. His little holiday swap may be the one for 2017. Throw in the fact that the Greens do not seem to like the Labour candidate, so won't roll. It's lining up nicely for the little guys yet again.

The opposition is a bit of a mess. The trouble is that a vote for the Greens is also a vote for Winston, and a vote for Winston is also a vote for the Greens, which doesn't make a lot sense. MMP doesn't seem to work as advertised. Does it lead to bureaucratic style stagnation? I mistakenly thought National would gut the RMA in their first term and there would be a building bonanza, leading to a glut of cheap housing; in short the pendulum would swing to the opposite extreme, with too little "planning" instead of too much. (I put planning in inverted commas because it's not really planning as such, just various interested parties making sure they get their cut/say).

I doubt it, as we have the Brexit and Trump effect. Many people are not happy with the growing divide in NZ, which has been proven to have got worse in recent years.

What proof of the growing divide in New Zealand are you referring to?

The one that you could see if you went and looked.


I think the biggest issue in this election is going to be immigration. Everyone knows it's an issue. We can't cope as a country with 70k+ a year.

Winston has alway been the anti immigration candidate and usually gets nowhere, but the issue has some real legs this time and he might end up holding the balance of power.


Also it ruins NZs uniquness, of being a sparsely populated small clean green country, with small cities. Who has actually asked for a larger population? Because of the short term gains from immigration, we now will need to spending billions extra on more infrastructure in the future. But it has been great for house investors, and also for the governments books

NZ Initaitive seems to be asking for a bigger population.
It is hard to see the reason to be for that group. They combine a bunch of heavy hitters but their conclusions seem to be very short on actual facts. They seem to be representing the views of the wealthy for whom high immigration is clearly a god send, for the rest of the plebs not so much.

Of course they are, they just want to keep their precious ponzi scheme going

If Labour were to win would Andrew Little become the first PM never to have won an electorate seat,or has he and i just can't remember.

Not altogether sure why that would matter

Just a question to satisfy my curiosity.Nothing sinister involved.

I'm a dyed in the wool National supporter however I struggle with why they are silent on the massive immigration and high house prices. Auckland is busting at the seams. The only conclusion I can come to is National sacrificed Auckland allowing Chinese to buy up property and in return we got to export more primary produce to them. So no I won't vote National firstly because they have ignored middle NZ and secondly Bill English is still the same guy who got spanked in 2002.

I may vote Green especially if they commit to crashing the property market by 40% like they've previously indicated. At least then my kids will have a chance of buying a house.

it will be a big issue this election, all the press and protests are showing a minority view in the USA, more people support trumps crackdown on immigration
do I think what he did is right no but sometimes when one side goes to far the reaction can be extreme .
I suspect more kiwis would love our numbers lowered and if we keep rising going into the election we may vote for the extreme reaction

It ain't a cunning plot of theirs and I think the Nats have simply not thought it thru. In their mind if it gets bigger it will be better. Which is dumb.

During a recent social outing with a bunch of other smug decile 10 tossers like me, it was interesting to note the increased depth of feeling on the open door immigration policy of this country. I move in business circles and note the growing unease in middle NZ about the hordes of foreigners pouring in. English risks getting out of tune with the electorate with his current assertive advocacy of high levels of migration.

New Zealand does not have an open door immigration policy. The door is open only to immigrants who meet stringent, and recently-tightened, criteria including health checks, criminal record checks, academic or professional qualifications and a job.

Health Checks - Bought;
Criminal Record Checks - Bought;
Academic or Professional Qualifications - Bought;
Job - Bought;

NZ Citizenship - PRICELESS.

I'd hate to see what an open door policy really looks like then, if our 'stringent' system sees 70,000 pouring in.

Yeah, our local Chinese adverises that it has Hong Kong trained cooks then I see a 16 year old tossing the stir fry.