Key announces election date

Key 'too scared' of coalition - Peters

VERNON SMALL AND ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 16:43 02/02/2011

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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Prime Minister John Key is too scared to enter a coalition with his party.

The country will go to the polls on November 26, Key has announced.

Key made the announcement at a suprise press conference.

"I believe it is in the country's best interests to know the date of the General Election early in election year," Key said.

"It creates certainty for New Zealanders and allows people to plan accordingly. This is particularly true this year when the Rugby World Cup, the third largest sporting event in the world, is being hosted by New Zealand.

 "Last night I rang the Governor-General to advise him of the election date," says Key.

The Rugby World Cup ends on the 23rd of Ocotber. The House is likely to rise on the 6th of Ocotber.
 
The official campaign date launch hasn't been campaign but he said a four week campaign was likely.
 
It was unusual for a Prime Minister to announce an election date so far in advance.
 
''It's a break from tradition.This is a big year for New Zealand.
 
``'I feel we are doing the right thing,'' he added.

Key also revealed he has ruled out working with NZ First leader Winston Peters if Peters makes it back into Parliament after this year's election.

Key said he wanted to lead an ``inspirational'' government.

He agreed a vote for NZ First world be a vote for Labour.

"If Winston Peters holds the balance of power, it will be a Phil Goff-led government.''

He said Peters had always been sacked by Prime Ministers and had a very different political style to his own.
 
``I think the NZ public are sick of games,'' he said. But asked if he thought Peter's ``plays games'' he said. ''I'll leave you to judge that.''
 
He said National had managed to work with ACT and the Maori party.

Asked if he thought a deal could be struck with the Maori party, he said: ``That's a matter for them ... they need to determine what is in the best interests of their people.''
 
The memorandum of understanding with the Greens had worked well -  ''who knows what it will look like post November 26th,'' he said.
 
On Epsom, he said he would run a ''sensible campaign.''

He also confirmed for the first time that National would stand a candidate in Rodney Hide's Epsom electorate.

He was National wants the ''largest possible vote we can.''

But he said it wasn't ''a strategy'' to get enough votes to govern without a coalition.
 
He said there was no case for an early election.

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National MPs have been meeting at Key's official residence at Premier House for the first major caucus of the year.
 
Key will return to the meeting after briefing journalists.

Earlier Government sources dismissed suggestions he was poised to reveal a significant economic development.

Peters: Key is "dead scared"

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said Prime Minister John Key is ''dead scared'' by refusing to enter into a coalition with his party.

Key today announced the country will go to the polls five weeks after the Rugby World Cup final on November 26.

Peters said NZ First had not said it wanted to strike a deal with any party.

He said Key should ''wait until the election… before deciding on the shape of the next government.''

''Unlike money traders and junk bond dealers we do not make deals until the event has actually taken place,'' he said, referring to Key's previous job as a foreigner currency dealer.

In his trademark confrontational style, he claimed Key would not strike a deal because New Zealand First would stop him '' flogging off all our state-owned assets.''

"He knows that we will not let National go down that path ever again. He knows that we will not let National give away the Foreshore and Seabed.

"We will also stop National selling our prime dairy land because we are very dependent on the dairy industry for our survival in a scary international financial environment.

"Mr Key and his party officials are obviously terrified that we will keep New Zealand safe in the hands of New Zealanders.

Indicating he may not go into Government with Labour, Peters said the party did have the option "of sitting on the cross-benches acting as a watchdog for the people and getting them a better deal from whoever is in government.''

- Fairfax Media

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