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Centre-left must win 61 seats in 2005

Centre-left must win 61 seats in 2005 to guarantee another Labour-Progressive term

Progressive delegates attending the party's inaugural conference on the weekend of September 20-21 will be challenged by party leader, Jim Anderton, to pull out all the stops to ensure an historic third Parliamentary mandate for the center-left coalition government in the 2005 elections.

"If any delegate feels confident that just because Labour is thrashing National in the polls that that means it is automatic we'll have a third term Labour-Progressive government, then I will be there to wake them up to the realities of MMP," Jim Anderton said today.

"No one in the party can afford to be off-guard. The hard, cold fact of the matter is that Labour and the Progressives need to get 61 seats between them to guarantee a third Parliamentary term and that will be a challenge.

"If relations between the Greens and Labour improve, which will require the Greens to back-off their promise to bring down the government over single issues, then the three center-left parties will need to win 61 seats to guarantee a third term center-left coalition," he said.

Centre-left parties won 66 seats in the 1999 election and 63 seats in 2002.

Jim Anderton said he will be reminding delegates that neither NZ First nor United Future hold the balance of power in the current Parliamentary term.

"Those self-described centrist parties don't have the power to decide between installing a Labour-led or a National-led government. One of the most important political challenges facing Progressive Party delegates is for them to rise to the challenge of making sure it stays that way and that neither NZ First nor United Future hold the balance of power after the next election," Jim Anderton said.

"We share with NZ First and United a commitment to pro-families legislation and safer communities' policies, including a commitment to fight social ills such as young people abusing drugs.

"But while we can and do work together with those parties on an issue by issue basis in this Parliament, some delegates may need reminding that those parties are just as likely to install, at the first opportunity, an English/Prebble coalition as they are to support a Labour-Progressive coalition," he added.

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