November 8, 2008 has been set as the date New Zealanders will go out and vote in this years General Election. Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the date at press conference yesterday with the date only revealed on the very last sentence of her speech. “The general election will be held on 8th November,” she said.

Jeanette Fitzsimons the co-leader of minor political party, Greens, spoke about the election date saying, “All this speculation shows just why we need a fixed election date so that in future we don’t waste time wondering when, but get on with the work.”

During Ms Clark’s speech she spoke about how her party, Labour, is best suited to remain as Government. She said, “This election is a choice between a government which has shown it can make the tough choices and an opposition which flip flops on almost every major issue which emerges.

“Labour is ambitious for New Zealand. National is ambiguous.”

Ms Clark is vying for a fourth term as Prime Minister while her main political rival, John Key, is attempting to overthrow the long-term incumbent and become the new face of New Zealand.

The leader of the National Party, currently in opposition, welcomed the election date announcement and said they were looking forward to it. Mr Key said, “I can tell you that National intends running a positive, forward-looking campaign that focuses on the real issues facing New Zealanders and their families.

“I challenge the Prime Minister to do the same.”

New Zealand’s Parliament runs on the mixed member porportional system (MMP) with a current overhang of 121 sitting MPs (normally 120). Labour have been in Government since taking office in 1999 and winning every election since.

Gabriel Pollard is a New Zealander blogging at Bird’s Eye News.

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