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PM reveals election date: September 20

UPDATE: The election will be held September 20, Prime Minister John Key said at his post cabinet press conference this afternoon.

The PM said he chose the early date to allow for the possibility of lengthy post-election coalition negotiations. It would allow a government to be formed before the G20 meeting in Australia, November 15 - 16.

Opponents see an effort to skirt the impact of higher interest rates with a series of OCR hikes anticipated from Thursday.

Parliament will rise July 31.

The last possible date for the next general election was Saturday January 24, 2015. With Christmas holiday season campaigning unfeasible, most had expected Key to name a date in September, October or November this year.

The PM warned post-election coalition negotiations could take six to eight weeks.

"In 2008 and 2011 we had very clear results on the night, but none of us can rule out that on election night no one knows who has won [this year]," Mr Key said.

He said he was the only Prime Minister to have consistently given a firm date months out for each election. 

Mr Key said he would also be transparent about which parties National would enter coalition with, and on what terms.

He added he had no expectation all third parties would actually follow that principle.

Flashing back to the first MMP election - a two-month debacle
The 1996 election - the first under MMP - was held on October 12.

But it was not until December 10 that king-maker Winston Peters finally announced NZ First would enter coalition with National. 

Complicating matters, under MMP the party with the largest vote does not automatically get first dibs at forming a government. 

Possible flag referendum
The Prime Minister has been talking up a possible referendum on the flag, which could coincide with the September 20 general election. He will give a speech on the topic tomorrow.

Cunliffe raises royal concern
Most pundits have praised the PM for naming the election date so far out.

But the gaffe-prone David Cunliffe has reportedly expressed concern about the hosting of the visit of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in an election year, saying there was a convention for a gap of at least six to eight months between a Royal visit and an election.

The Labour leader's argument would have had strong currency in 1953.

Today, it's unlikely the Royal couple will weigh in on the issue, while Prince George, at seven months and 16 days old, is too young to form a complex cognitive reaction to the Mr Cunliffe's concern.

Comments and questions

Nice try at a huge diversion from his own donations round dinner-table debarcle, the pop in for a chance cuppa that was actually a totally pre-organised visit, the Neverpay it properly Novopay fiasco that keeps on going and the uttter incompetence round the Christchurch rebuild as Brownlee literally 'sinks' more of out money into it

Anyhow bring it on..
The teflon one has shown itself to be $2shop tinpot and some of us are absolutely champing at the bit to ask others in adjacent local electorates why on earth they would wish to support spankers, or fans of family relationships that are a little too close for comfort, or indeed a man who fusses when his own emails are open to exposure but happily votes our privacy away!
None of the issues mentioned above are about to go away either. Much like the abestos trains, they will simply be stored and brought out regularly to demonstrate what an utter failure the National Party have actually been for most middle income, ordinary working and/or would like to be working New Zealanders....
Can see a few rocks, more than a few falling stars, economies with the truth exposed and actually not much sign of Mr Key after September!..

That's the biggest pile of wishful thinking I've seen in a long time. I suppose you have to be optimistic but where on earth are you getting that much from. Based on recent form you are pulling our legs surely ?

Dream on.

I really think that Mr Key has more serious issues than the sort of tripe yo write

Thought you were writing about Cunningcliffe until I got to your last sentence...

Guess you vote Labour Jacquelyne.. good luck with plunging us back into debt

National has accumulated more debt in their 6 years in power than all governments had collectively before them....

In dollar terms, perhaps (depending from when you measure it).

But debt is measured as a function of assets.

Govt debt will peak at around 30% of GDP in 2015/16: it peaked at 78% of GDP in 1987.

No I don't...They got neither of my votes in 2011

The Teflon wonder does himself no favours by allowing power companies to rip us and then spin us all a line saying we are getting a good deal. Yeah right.

So did this so-called "screwing" only start under National? Labour creamed massive dividends from the power companies for years when they were in power, only in opposition did they complain!

Besides, I suggest you do some research into the breakdown of your average power bill. Hint: check the line (transmission) charges to see why they are high, not a lot to do with generation.

Is that why the Electricity Commission has launched a investigation into billing. Hint, the retailer could be adding his own markup.

Sure the retailer is adding a mark-up, he is entitled to do so. He buys the same commodity as everyone else from the wholesale market, if you don't like it, change companies!

The proposed Labour and Green "fix" will clobber the generators, who make up (on average) only 23% of the typical bill. Transmission and distribution make up over 30%.

Excellent looking forward to see the generators get clobbered..

This September advancement of the election date will impact on OCR increases this year. Can't see Wheeler pushing the OCR past 3% until after the post election settlements , probably next year.

From the comments above, it's clear to see just how sadly desperate the Left is. The world, history, has moved on, Alan and Jacquelyne, and with a mindset like that, with each passing day, you are allowing yourselves to get further and further behind until soon you will be so far behind that you, and the Left, will have become irrelevant.

With respect David B, have you forgotten the majority of voters are in the centre. Their concern and mine; and they should be yours, is that the right wing neo liberal economy theory this current government continues to follow has been at the expense of the middle class (whats left of it).

Without a middle class, we are headed for mid evil times; and I dont think anyone of us want this, unless you are the rulers.

Theres no trickle down effect with neo liberal economic theory, rather the opposite which is now plane to see. Freemarket Is just a convenient throw away line, used to blind those that cant think for themselves.

This has been done to catch Labour while it is on its knees.
Wait 3 Years though and see the Nats handling things with kid gloves, making no changes and us all drifting into mediocrity once more

And Labour will do better?

No they wont. They will tax and spend with gay abandon. And then the economy will stall. And it isn't just Labour -the Red/Green Party will be a big part of a future hard left government.

Well I have already factored in the chance of a Labgren government with the consequential damage that will bring and reorganised my affairs; I would expect to do financially well out of such a change of government.

A National win will just be upside as far as the country goes, maybe not so financially beneficial for me, but I will still do OK and it will be a win for the country overall as we will be in a better place in 3 years time.

Rare that NZ politics are a win win situation,

To the top comment. Nova pay is actually a very good product. The real issue was that there was very little training and most of the users are 50+. Imagine your mum using windows8 without help.

NBR: "But the gaffe-prone David Cunliffe has reportedly expressed concern about the hosting of the visit of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in an election year,"

Please, David -- At the Royals' "Meet the press", have the good sense not to photo-bomb our happy PM craddling Prince George.

TPP announced in october then? G20 has nothing to do with it...

Please keep David on for the upcomimg election - that will ensure National gets back in again - and thats what NZ needs.

Given the absolute stunner of a week Key, Collins and co have had since, I thought I would pop back to see if the critics who assume so much and 'perceive' so little had had a change of heart or wished to 'broaden' their previous comments?
And to Novopay Steve.. If my Mother was alive she would be over 50 for sure but perfectly capable of using Windows 8 unaided as am I..
Another nice deflection try..
The administrative/payroll users of our local schools ( Primary and Intermediate ) for your information by the way are 44yrs and 39yrs respectively, (I asked) so no idea where you source your intel from?
If it actually was that good a system though it would be working properly by now Mr Joyce, as you well know.
The future is looking more Green BlackRed and White ( Not incest Whyte) than ever to me by the way...