September 23 named as election date; Prime Minister says National would again work with Act, United Future and Maori Party; would talk to Winston, but NZ First 'an unlikely partner'

New Zealanders will go to the polls on 23 September, Prime Minister Bill English announced today.

Sticking with a precedent of announcing the date early set by predecessor John Key, English said the date was partly chosen to allow whoever is Prime Minister after the election to represent New Zealand at the APEC and East Asian summits towards the end of the year.

The Prime Minister noted National would likely require to enter another coalition government in order to govern due to the nature of MMP.

English said his preference is to stick with current coalition partners, Act, United Future and the Maori Party.

National will likely follow the formula of helping Act and UF leaders, Peter Dunne and David Seymour, to win their electorate seats, English said. 

“You could expect us to stick with a formula that’s worked pretty well for us and stable government,” he said.

English said he would also be prepared to negotiate with New Zealand First depending on the make up of parliament, although the party is an “unlikely partner”.

He ruled out working with The Greens and Labour.