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Little eyes early election

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/12/2016 Sean Martin
Andrew Little © Phil Walter/Getty Images Andrew Little

Labour leader Andrew Little would like to see voters go to the polls early next year to decide the next government.

Both a change in prime minister and the pending departure of former Labour leader David Shearer to South Sudan to lead a peacekeeping mission leave open the possibility of a mid-winter election, he says.

Mr Shearer would leave parliament in January if he is chosen by the UN Security Council for the job and would trigger a by-election in his Mt Albert electorate unless a general election was to be held within six months.

"We're ready to go either way," Mr Little told TVNZ on Thursday.

"My preference would be an early election ... these changes in MPs and a change in PM I think it's probably time to go to the country and say let's have this out, let's let New Zealanders speak and see who they want running the country," he said.

Another former Labour leader David Cunliffe will leave parliament at the next election, as will colleague Clayton Cosgrove and National's Chester Borrows, Education Minister Hekia Parata, Lindsay Tisch and Maurice Williamson are also on the way out.

John Key will return only briefly to the backbench after standing down as leader on Monday to avoid triggering a by-election in his Helensville electorate.

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