You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Bill English needs some good news

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/06/2017 Peter Wilson

Bill English will be hoping the All Blacks have beaten the Lions and New Zealand has won the America's Cup before he makes his big speech to the National Party's annual conference on Sunday.

The conference opens on Saturday in the shadow of the Todd Barclay scandal and the prime minister needs some good news.

Ministers won't be mentioning the Clutha-Southland MP in their numerous speeches but it's sure to be a talking point behind the scenes.

The conference is the party's biggest set piece event of the year, designed to set the stage for the election campaign when National will be looking for a fourth term.

More than 500 delegates are descending on Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre to hear a string of cabinet ministers make speeches about the government's achievements and how important it is for National to continue the good work.

Setting aside the Barclay scandal, the government is looking good with just under 100 days to go.

National's poll rating averaged out at 48.2 per cent in Colmar Brunton and Reid Research surveys earlier this month - more than it has gained in any election.

Continuing strong economic growth is forecast and the caucus is united behind Mr English.

But delegates are expected to look for assurances the government is going to be able to handle the housing shortage and head off opposition attacks during the campaign.

They also know that immigration is a concern among voters, and that Labour and NZ First have policies to curb it.

Key speeches will come from Finance Minister Steven Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman on Saturday.

Sunday is left clear for Mr English to fire up delegates with a plan to win the election.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon