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PM forecasts `tough and tight' election

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/06/2017

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Prime Minister Bill English says he's expecting a "tough and tight" election regardless of what the opinion polls are saying.

The latest poll gave National 49 per cent, a 19-point lead over Labour, which was very similar to the British Conservative Party's situation when Prime Minister Theresa May called an election.

It went badly wrong for the Tories, and she lost an outright majority in the House of Commons.

Mr English was asked at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday whether that made him nervous.

He said it didn't.

"The circumstances here are different, and one of the differences is we've got surpluses and they're caught up in the politics of austerity," Mr English said.

"But whatever the polls say, this will be a tough and tight election. My message to my ministers and our caucus is they've got to get out of bed every day to earn the right to govern.

"Polls don't give you the right to govern - what does is a win on election night."

Mr English has spoken to Mrs May since her disastrous result.

She's now in the process of putting together a minority government.

Mr English says they had a discussion about that.

"We've only had a majority of one or two during most of the eight years we've been in government and she's trying to put together a government with a very small majority," he said.

"It can be done, you can have stable government with small majorities."

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