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Labour looks to election fight: Little

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016 Sean Martin

Andrew Little © Getty Andrew Little John Key © Phil Walter/Getty Images John Key

Labour leader Andrew Little is refusing to publicly acknowledge the challenge of next year's general election has become a little easier with the resignation of Prime Minister John Key.

The National Party has relied heavily on Mr Key's popularity in winning the past three elections and none of touted replacements have his public profile.

Mr Little, with his party down to 23 and 28 per cent support in the latest two opinion polls, refused to say whether or not he was pleased with Monday's news of Mr Key's resignation or whether there had been "fist pumping".

"I don't tend to go in for that sort of stuff," he told Newshub on Tuesday morning.

"Homelessness is still there, people can't get the hospital treatment, none of that has changed. Whoever is at the top ... what we will be campaigning on hasn't changed."

Mr Little said Mr Key had campaigned for seven days before Saturday's Mt Roskill by-election, and despite National winning the list vote there in the last election, Labour's Michael Wood won by a landslide.

"The prime minister's star power, pulling power simply had not worked and I picked that up for a long time.

"The truth is a shine's gone off him.

"There's a lot of stuff the polls aren't picking up and the same has happened here."

Mr Little said the jockeying for leadership of National had been going on for some time but he wouldn't go into who should be Mr Key's replacement.

"In the end, their decision, their people, they choose, the fight hasn't changed for me."

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