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Failure to name election date 'petty'

Jim Anderton MP Mon Sep 6 1999

Jim Anderton
MPThe Government's failure to name an election date is petty politics at its worst, Alliance leader Jim Anderton says.

He wants the power to set the election date taken out of the hands of the Prime Minister.

'The election has to be held before 18 December. It is now September and Mrs Shipley still hasn't got around to naming a date.

'The Prime Minister almost certainly knows the precise date herself and the National Party is probably purchasing advertising time and making arrangements around that date.

'It is an abuse of democracy for one party to award itself that kind of advantage.

'If the date was publicly known, the Electoral Commission could get on with booking the schools and church halls which are needed for polling booths, and others who might use those halls can make alternative plans. All political parties would be on the same footing in planning for the election and the community would have far more certainty.

'Mrs Shipley is being petty in putting her perceived tiny advantage for the National Party ahead of the advantages for the wider community.

'Last week the National Party announced that it can't even pass its own tax legislation, but it is trying to hold on in office without even naming an election date.'

Jim Anderton said the date of the election should be set automatically by legislation, three years to the nearest weekend from the last election.

'The date should be capable of being altered only when an early election has to be called because the government loses the confidence of the House. In other circumstances the election date should be announced with at least six months notice,' Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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