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Andrew Little: `I can beat Bill English'

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/12/2016

Andrew Little © Phil Walter/Getty Images Andrew Little Labour leader Andrew Little is confident he can beat Bill English when he comes up against the new prime minister in next year's general election.

As Mr English prepared to be sworn in, Mr Little said he doubted whether the new leadership team with Paula Bennett as deputy would make much difference to government policies.

"With John Key I would have been up against someone who had eight years as prime minister, now I'm up against someone who has had eight years as finance minister - he knows the government inside out and that part won't change," Mr Little told reporters.

"He has been a party to every decision John Key has made - he can't easily shake off that responsibility."

Asked whether he believed he could beat Mr English when they come up against each other, Mr Little replied: "Yes I can. Look at the Mt Roskill by-election results and the local government election results - we did very well and we will do very well next year."

Mr Little said his plans were already in place.

"I'll be out there talking about our message, our story about New Zealand ... we are listening to New Zealanders."

Within minutes of National's caucus confirming Mr English as prime minister on Monday, Mr Little had challenged him to "prove there will be a difference" under his leadership.

"We have pressing problems facing New Zealand right now, and we need to see solutions urgently," he said.

Mr Little reeled off a familiar list of complaints, saying young New Zealanders were shut out of the housing market, thousands of people were homeless and others couldn't get the hospital care they needed.

He congratulated Mr English but added: "His challenge now is to prove there will be a difference".

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