Battleground ready for war of words and ballot

General Election on September 23

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Prime Minister Bill English has announced that the next General Election will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017.

“As we have done in previous election years, I am announcing the election date early as I believe it’s important to provide the country with some certainty and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to have plenty of notice,” he said.

National will be campaigning on its strong record in Government and will go into the election with a positive and ambitious programme that will back New Zealanders to succeed. I am proud of what we are achieving for New Zealanders,” he said.

Robust growth

The New Zealand economy continues to grow and diversify, more children are staying at school longer and getting better qualifications, more people are getting faster and more efficient healthcare, Mr English said.

He said that the government is investing at record levels in key infrastructure projects like schools, roads and ultra-fast broadband.

“We are supporting our most vulnerable by increasing benefit rates and investing in programmes to support them into work,” he said.

National Party

Mr English said that his National Party will be campaigning on its strong record of delivering more for New Zealanders.

“New Zealand is now growing strongly, stronger than most developed countries. We have got New Zealand back on its feet, got people into jobs, returned to surplus, invested heavily in infrastructure and core services and tackled natural disasters. The challenge now is to sustain that growth, build for growth, and act for the people who most need our help,” he said.

Mr English said that people should be ready to adapt to a still fragile and uncertain world, and prepare for long term prosperity.

“We will go into the election with a positive and ambitious programme that will build on the successes of the last few years, with a clear and strong plan to make you and all New Zealanders better off both at work and at home, and with the means to achieve it. I am excited for the year ahead but as you know, under MMP, elections are always close. We will be taking nothing for granted,” he said.

Labour Party

Labour Party Leader Andrew Little said that the date of General Election brings New Zealand one step closer to electing a new government that will give hope to all those left behind by the National Party.

“Bring it on – we are ready and raring to go so we can change the Government and build a better New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Little claimed that his Party has commenced its campaign on what Kiwis are worried about today.

“We urgently need to fix the housing crisis to make first homes more affordable, help Kiwis get the health care they need and build the world class education system parents expect for their kids. We stand for safer communities and a stronger economy that better rewards all New Zealanders,” he said.

Mr Little said that his Party is well prepared, its teams are in place and its plans are well advanced.

“We will be working hard to convince New Zealanders we can help give them a fair shot at the Kiwi Dream. We have many hugely talented new candidates already selected and more to come. We will be going into the election with a fresh team with the experience and skills so we can build a New Zealand that will once again be the envy of the world,” Mr Little said.

Green Party

Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw said that his Party is ready and excited to work with New Zealanders “to change the government on September 23, 2017.

“The Green Party is more energised and more prepared than we have ever been. We are ready to change the government,” he said.

Mr Shaw said that the Green Party, along with Labour, had demonstrated their joint passion to form a credible, compassionate, progressive alternative government.

“New Zealanders want a Prime Minister who represents our values to the world, not one who is happy to sleepwalk through a major global political moment. There is a real feeling for change in our country,” he said.

“People know that when this government says they cannot do more, what they are actually saying is that they will not do more to end child poverty, to make housing affordable, to protect our beautiful lakes and rivers from pollution. That attitude from New Zealand’s government will come to an end on September 23,” he added.

New Zealand First Party

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters was laconic in his comment.

“We are ready for the election on September 23. All our planning and key events, such as the campaign launch and the annual convention, are set around this date. It suits us fine,” he said.

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