New Zealand election? After the rugby, mate

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The Independent Online

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key announced yesterday that the general election will be on 26 November. He said the unusually long notice period was designed to avoid distractions during the Rugby World Cup.

Parliaments run for a maximum of three years and an election was due this year. Mr Key's centre-right National Party is expected to win a second term.

The World Cup kicks off at Eden Park in Auckland on 9 September and the final is on 23 October.

Mr Key said: "The Rugby World Cup is a huge opportunity for New Zealand, the biggest event it has staged; we can showcase the country to billions of viewers. I don't want to undermine that by playing politics with the election date." New Zealand governments typically delay the announcement of elections to keep political rivals guessing.