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Prime Minister Helen Clark announced New Zealand's election date for 2008 at a 12.30 press conference in Wellington today.
New Zealand will go to the polls on November 8, she said.
Clark's Labour Party is lagging well behind the opposition National Party in opinion polls and the current government has a lot of ground to make up if they wish to remain in power after the November election.
New Zealand last went to the polls in 2005.
NZPA - The election will be held on November 8, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.
At a packed Beehive press conference, Miss Clark said Parliament would be dissolved on October 3 allowing a formal election campaign of five weeks.
Miss Clark said she believed the election would be fought on the issue of trust.
"It is about which leader and which major party we New Zealanders trust our families' and country's future with.
"This election is a tough choice between a Government which has shown it can make the tough choices and an Opposition which flip flops on almost every major issue that emerges."
She said "National's evasiveness, flip flops, and secret agendas" showed it could not be trusted.
Today's announcement follows the passage of the Government's last major piece of legislation -- setting up an emissions trading scheme.
The date allows enough time for Labour's October 1 tax cuts to make an impact in the polls.
Miss Clark said sustainability would be a major plank of Labour's campaign, but it would also roll out major health, education, housing and economic policies over the next few weeks.
Miss Clark pitted Labour's record of achievement over nine years against National's attacks on its policies.
Labour had grown the economy, putting it in a strong position to weather the current downturn, and delivered policies aimed at improving lives of New Zealanders.
National had repeatedly attacked those policies only to then adopt them.
But said National's change of heart was "insincere" and under National those policies would be "seriously at risk".
She listed Labour's major achievements as Working For Families, cheaper doctors visits, "20 hours free" early childhood education, interest free student loans and a lift in the rate of superannuation.
ACT leader Rodney Hide welcomed the announcement which he said couldn't come soon enough.
"Kiwis are sick of Helen Clark's `Nanny-Knows-Best'."
Miss Clark's reluctance to sack Winston Peters over the donations saga had shown the Government was unprincipled, he said.
"It's time to dump the Clark-Peters Government. It's time for a change."
United Future leader Peter Dunne agreed the election would be about trust.
"United Future as the voice of the silent majority, will keep the next government on track and honest, thus allowing it to earn that trust."
Mr Dunne said the election was a chance for a "new mandate and a fresh start".
Parliament goes into recess next week. MPs will then return to Parliament for a final session of up to two weeks.
Following the dissolution of Parliament writ day will be October 8 and October 14 will be nomination day.
After the election Parliament must reconvene within 92 days of writ day. That date is January 8.