New Zealand will go to the polls on September 20. Prime
Minister John Key announced the election date during his
post-cabinet press conference this afternoon.
He said G20 summit hosted by Australia on 15-16 November was
a factor in deciding the date.
Australia has invited New Zealand to take part in that
summit, and Mr Key said there was a risk holding the election
too close to the G20 would meant post-election coalition
talks were still underway and a prime minister had not been
An election campaign could also mean other country's leaders
could not visit in the lead up to that summit.
He said Parliament would rise on July 31.
Labour leader David Cunliffe has expressed concern about the
hosting of the visit of Prince William and the Duchess of
Cambridge in an election year, saying there was a convention
for a gap of at least six to eight months between a Royal
visit and an election.
In 2011, Mr Key announced the election date in early February
- nine months before the November election. It is up to the
Prime Minister to decide on the date.
The regulated period for election spending and advertising
now kicks in either three months before the election, or
after the Prime Minister's announcement if that is within
three months of the election.
Traditionally prime ministers have left it late to call the
election to take advantage of knowing when the regulated
period will start. However, Mr Key said he does not
necessarily agree that delaying it until the last minute
gives a big advantage and it is in the interests of the
voters and economy to have some certainty early.
Mr Key is also expected to give clearer indications of
whether National will assist potential coalition partners in
electorate seats closer to the election.
He has already indicated it will do so for Peter Dunne in
Ohariu and Act's Seymour in Epsom, but has not yet said
whether it will support Conservative Party leader Colin Craig
in the same way. National ministers Paula Bennett and Murray
McCully have both said they are interested in the two seats
Mr Craig is most likely to be successful in - the new Upper
Harbour electorate and East Coast Bays.