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Deal with NZ First not on cards: English

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/02/2017
Bill English © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English isn't ruling out working with Winston Peters after the election, but he says it's unlikely there will be any deal beforehand.

National is down four points to 46 per cent in the first Colmar Brunton poll for 1 News since Mr English took power, while Labour is up two points to 30 per cent

The Greens are unchanged on 11 per cent and NZ First is up a point to 11 per cent.

With seven months to go to the general election, National would fall short of power with its current partners, based on the poll result.

Asked on Monday whether he would be willing to work with NZ First to form a government, Mr English wouldn't rule it out.

"If you needed to, you can work with anyone if that's what voters tell you is needed for stable government," he told TVNZ.

But he played down the prospect, saying neither he nor Mr Peters were likely to be interested in making any deals before election night.

"In the last two or three elections people have speculated about Winston Peters' role. In our view New Zealanders want a stable government and they'll decide at the election whether Winston Peters is part of that or not," he said.

Mr English is also 31 per cent in the preferred prime minister measure, five points below John Key in November.

But Mr English said he wasn't surprised by the party's dip in the polls.

"It's probably not as down as far as people might have expected," Mr English said.

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