Ardern likely to give advance notice of 2020 election

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern
New Zealanders should know early next year when the 2020 election will be held, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Historically, Prime Ministers had not named polling day until the last possible moment, but in February 2011 then prime minister John Key broke that tradition to announce that year's election would be in November.

In 2014, he announced the September election date in March, and in 2017 his successor, Bill English, revealed on February 1 that the election would be in September.

Ms Ardern said she would probably follow what was becoming a convention.

"I think it was a good standard to set, and I see no reason why we wouldn't want to give the ability for particularly the Electoral Commission to plan, but also for people to have certainty and to know.

"It is something he looked to do usually at the beginning of the year so we are a little way off, but I do intend to announce it in advance.

"It's a significant event. It's my performance appraisal by the nation."

Ms Ardern, in Dunedin on Thursday for the Otago Daily Times Class Act 2019 awards, set aside time for a wide-ranging interview with the ODT and spoke about several local issues, including the future of KiwiRail's Hillside workshop.

The Government made a $1billion investment in rail as part of this year's Budget, and it has been anticipated - not least by local Labour MP Clare Curran - that some of that investment would result in more work being directed to Hillside.

"We will need rolling stock, so Hillside is well placed, and they do have a Provincial Growth Fund application ... ," Ms Ardern said.

"We are creating the environment for there to be that knock-on effect for industry, but I just need to be a little bit careful while we have a few things under active consideration.

"Watch this space."

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