General election in September?

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 17:50 23/01/2014

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Speculation is mounting that the Government may call a general election earlier than the last two elections.

Prime Minister John Key said on Tuesday several factors would influence the date of the election, including the G-20 summit in Australia in Brisbane on November 15 and 16.

He promised to give "plenty of warning" rather than calling it at short notice to shorten the campaign period.

"I'm not terribly interested in playing lots of games, I don't think there's any major political advantage of that nor is it actually ... the right thing to do," Key said.

Speculation that the vote would come earlier than the last two general elections, both held in November, was renewed today.

A blog post on prediction website iPredict said Key faced some "interesting scheduling challenges" for deciding an election date. Matters that would affect the date were the G20 summit, a possible visit by US President Barack Obama and All Blacks matches.

A November vote was "unlikely" because of the summit in Australia, with Key not wanting to be overseas in the final weeks of the campaign, or in the days following, the site said.

Even October offered "slim pickings" for an election.

With elections held on a Saturday, All Blacks tests on October 4 and 18 would provide a "distraction" from voting, as would Labour Weekend, ruling out October 25.

This led the website to state the only date left that month would be October 11.

Meanwhile, sources within Parliament say dates in late September are being considered.

Betting on iPredict today made the probability of an election in the fourth quarter of 2014 drop from 80 per cent to 65 per cent.

The Prime Minister's Office said this afternoon there was no update on when the election would be held since Key's comments on Tuesday.


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- Fairfax Media

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