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English promises stable, predictable govt

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016

Bill English says there will be some changes when he becomes prime minister, but his government will continue to be stable and predictable.

He will be confirmed as prime minister when National's caucus meets on Monday, and after that MPs will vote to choose a deputy leader.

Support for Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is stacking up, with around 20 cabinet members and backbenchers publicly backing her.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has the public backing of about half that number but says Monday's party room speeches will be important for swaying the undecided.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could win - right now it's really close. There won't be a lot in it. I know though I can win and I'm seeking to do that," he told Newshub.

Once the deputy leader is decided Mr English's first task will be naming his cabinet, with backbenchers pressing for representation.

"We've got an enormous range of talent, I think we're going to be able to run a very successful government," he told Newshub on Friday.

"The recipe that's been operating under John Key has been very successful.

"We want to keep the recipe that works, and a lot of people are part of it ... it will change a bit but the essentials of a stable, predictable government will stay there."

Mr English wouldn't be drawn on the timing of next year's election, saying any decision on that was at least a week away.

Labour is calling for an early vote, saying it wants to avoid a by-election caused by Mt Albert MP David Shearer's imminent departure to head a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

An early election could help Labour because the new government would have had less time to get traction with voters traction with voters, which Mr English will be well aware of.

He will also want his new finance minister, Steven Joyce, to present a budget, scheduled for May, before going to the country.

Mr English's confirmation as prime minister on Monday will be a formality after the two other contenders, Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman, withdrew on Thursday.

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