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Electorate deals likely for ACT and UF

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/02/2017

Prime Minister Bill English has signalled National will give ACT and United Future the same clear run in Epsom and Ohariu that it has in the past.

It has put up candidates in those electorates but campaigned only for the party vote, allowing ACT leader David Seymour to win in Epsom and helping UF leader Peter Dunne retain Ohariu.

"You can expect us to stick with the formula that has worked pretty well for us in forming stable governments," Mr English said when he announced the election would be held on September 23.

"We have a recipe that's worked for us and for our coalition partners up to now."

ACT and UF have support agreements with the government, along with the Maori Party, and Mr English said his preference post-election would be to work with them again.

He said he wasn't ruling out working with Winston Peters' NZ First Party if that was what the make-up of parliament demanded, but he thought it would be an "unlikely" partner.

"The reason is that we are a party that believes in an open New Zealand, outward looking, open to investment and immigration, and NZ First are an inward looking party that believes in a closed-up New Zealand," he said.

The most recent opinion polls have indicated NZ First is likely to hold the balance of power in the next parliament.

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