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PM English names Sept. 23 for 2017 general election

Wednesday 1st February 2017

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Prime Minister Bill English says the general election will be held on Sept. 23 this year, confirming speculation it was the most likely date.

English continued the practice established by predecessor John Key, who believed the public favoured certainty over the election date rather than the tradition of the ruling party keeping the date close to its chest to keep opposition parties guessing.

On confidence and supply, he said his preference is to work with current partners - Act, United Future and the Maori Party. He ruled out working with the opposition Labour and Green parties, which he said were "increasingly far left, inward looking" and said he would be prepared to have discussions with the Winston Peters-led New Zealand First, although he called them an "unlikely partner". 

On New Zealand First, English said "it is unlikely because we are a party that believes an outward looking open New Zealand, NZ First are inward looking and believe in a closed New Zealand, there's some big differences."

The government's intention is for the House to rise on Aug. 17. 

English said the economy will always be "the central issue" of the election.

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