Labour campaign spokesperson Grant Robertson has accused Prime Minister John Key of "ducking the tough questions" by refusing to debate Labour's Phil Goff.

In a promo for this weekend's episode of The Nation, TV3 said Mr Key refused to appear on the show. When reporter Narelle Suisted followed the Key campaign she found its "endless photo opportunities are carefully planned stage shows".

Mr Robertson said the latest no-show was one of many from the National leader.

"He has refused to go head-to-head in a live debate with Labour Leader Phil Goff for the Herald; with Morning Report because he was 'too busy to prepare'; with Close Up twice; and Radio Live.

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"He continues to give Campbell Live the cold shoulder and Radio New Zealand confirmed last month it had only been able to get him on its programmes a handful of times in the past year.

"It's just not good enough.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office said Labour's accusations were "nonsense".

"The Prime Minister has to balance his time with New Zealanders in the community against the huge media demands during the campaign."

But Mr Robertson said New Zealanders "rightly want to quiz him on why he has not delivered on his promises", such as closing the wage gap with Australia, stopping the exodus of New Zealanders across the ditch and helping New Zealand's "underclass".

"But they are not being given the chance as he continues to refuse to debate substantive issues and his record in government.

"Elections are meant to be a contest of ideas where the public can scrutinise each party's record and hear their plans for the future.

"Labour is up for it. Why isn't John Key?

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"If he's proud of what he has done and what he wants to do then he should stop hiding and face up to the hard questions."

- HERALD ONLINE