1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Politics
  4. Politics

New Zealand PM tips tight election battle

©Reuters ©Reuters

 Prime Minister John Key on Monday predicted a "close" and "hard fought" New Zealand general election next month, despite opinion polls showing his party has almost twice the support of its nearest rival, AFP reports.

One poll put Key's conservative National Party on 50 percent support ahead of the September 20 vote, with the opposition Labour Party on 26 percent. Another survey had the race slightly closer at 47.5 percent to 29.

But Key said nothing could be taken for granted under New Zealand's complicated Multi-Party Proportional (MMP) voting system, which tends to emphasise the role of minor parties and force the major players into coalition governments.

"We always know that elections are tight events under MMP," said Key, who is seeking a third term after first winning office in 2008.

"If we could poll 50 percent on election night that would be great, but the truth is MMP is an environment that's tough, it's hard fought and its always close," he told TVNZ.

"In the end, if people want us to be there they've got to give their party vote to National."

According to the One News-Colmar Brunton poll, National's 50 percent would allow it to govern in its own right, a situation unprecedented since the German-style MMP system was introduced in 1996.

The results of the 3News-Reid Research poll would return the party to power but only with support from potential coalition partners such as the Conservative Party, currently polling with 2.5 percent.

The One News poll rated Key's support as preferred prime minister at 45 percent, compared to Labour leader David Cunliffe's 10 percent, with 3News' survey putting the numbers at 44.1 percent to 9.9 percent.

The polls emphasise why Key's personal popularity is seen as central to his party's chances of re-election, with voters showing no sign of tiring of the former banker who has adopted a mostly moderate centre-right agenda while in office.

Meanwhile, Key dismissed allegations made in a book published last week that one of his former staffers ran a dirty tricks campaign from his office which involved feeding information to a right-wing blogger and accessing a Labour Party database.

He described the author Nicky Hager as a "left-wing conspiracy theorist" who was making unsubstantiated claims about events that took place years ago.

"At the end of the day we're five weeks out from an election. People can see that Nicky Hager's made a whole lot of things up in his book. They can see that he can't back a lot of them up," he said.


Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights