2014 election date announced

18:23, Mar 10 2014

The general election will be held on September 20, Prime Minister John Key has announced.

Key said he called the governor-general to advise him of the date yesterday.

Holding the election in September would allow whoever is prime minister to attend the G-20 summit in Brisbane in November.

Punters on the Victoria University prediction website iPredict had favoured a September election in recent days, although September 27 was the most likely until early this afternoon.

Key said he had wanted to announce the election before his trip to China next week.

National would campaign hard on its record rebuilding Christchurch, an improving economy and protecting the most vulnerable.
New Zealand's progress in recent years had not happened by accident, he said.

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The campaign would be on National's track record, on new initiatives such as its education plan, and that National was "very much in touch" with what New Zealanders wanted.

Key will make a speech about the future of the New Zealand flag tomorrow, but he declined to say whether a referendum would be held with the election, saying he didn't want the reporters to open all of their presents today.

Some world leaders had expressed an interest in visiting New Zealand around the time of the G-20, however this would not be practical during an election campaign, Key said.

October was not suitable as it could take weeks to form a coalition, Key said.

His personal view was that elections should permanently move to a "September to September" cycle as international summits tended to be held in November.

The time it took for coalition agreements to be struck meant the House could be required to sit in January, he said. 

The Dominion Post