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Election 'in the back half of 2017': Key

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/09/2016

John Key © Reuters/Jason Reed John Key Winston Peters is tipping an early election next year but Prime Minister John Key say that's news to him.

The NZ First leader says he doesn't think the government can hang on for a full term.

"They've had a disastrous run, they've been found out," he told RNZ on Monday.

Mr Key says it's likely he'll announce the election date early next year - and he's signalling it won't be early.

"I'm pretty confident you'll find it's in the back half of next year," he said.

"I can work out the weekends when there isn't an All Black test match."

Mr Peters is claiming his party's own polling shows it well above the level shown in public surveys.

"It's much higher than 10 per cent or 11 per cent," he said.

NZ First won 8.6 per cent of the party vote in 2014.

Mr Peters said at the weekend, when his party held it's annual convention, that he expected it would pick up the electorate seats of Whangarei and Whanganui in the next election.

But he's shooting down speculation that former Labour MP Shane Jones will stand in Whangarei.

Mr Peters said he hadn't spoken to Mr Jones about standing.

Mr Key says he doubts it's going to happen.

"He's doing a great job where he is," he told Newshub.

Mr Jones is currently a roving ambassador in the Pacific.

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