The march towards the polls has well and truly begun, with election day officially set for September 19.

Minutes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the date on Tuesday, National Party leader Simon Bridges replied with a blunt challenge: "Bring it on."

"While there's a lot of announcements [from the Government], leadership means actually getting things done," Bridges said, giving a glimpse into what the next 234 days may look like.

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"A government I lead will deliver on its promises."

Ardern, too, gave a look into things to come as she revealed the date, promising the Government would be making a number of significant announcements over the next two weeks.

The biggest of those will be revealing the details of its $12 billion infrastructure plan on Wednesday, with both the Green Party and NZ First joining the Prime Minister for the big moment.

"Ultimately, I am going to be campaigning on my record and this Government's record," Ardern told reporters.

"We've made good progress but we have more to do."

National Party leader Simon Bridges says he's hitting the ground running. Photo / Bevan Conley
National Party leader Simon Bridges says he's hitting the ground running. Photo / Bevan Conley

Putting on her Labour leader's hat, Ardern also reiterated a pledge from last week to run a "positive, factual and robust" campaign.

Confirming the date at her first post-Cabinet press conference of the year, Ardern said she had continued the precedent of calling the timing of the election early out of fairness.

Former prime minister John Key began the tradition with a February announcement in 2011.

"This is best practice. It's fair and it allows our Electoral Commission to prepare," Ardern said.


"For politicians, I expect the three-year term means we're all constantly in campaign mode anyway."

Asked how she had chosen the date, she hinted the All Blacks' fixtures for the year may have played some part.

"I am not going to give one single factor as the overriding rationale," Ardern said.

NZ First leader Winston Peters only said:
NZ First leader Winston Peters only said: "Elections happen every three years." Photo / Mark Mitchell

"The things that were really important were essentially people's ability to vote: school holidays, whether or not there are public holidays and, of course, whether or not there might be anything else taking their mind off on to other things, like important sporting fixtures."

New Zealand First is understood to have favoured a November election date while Labour and the Greens favoured an earlier one that will make it easier to mobilise tertiary students.

The Green Party welcomed the announcement, saying it gave "New Zealanders plenty of time to think about the future they want for their kids and grandkids". Act Leader David Seymour also weighed in, saying he would be campaigning against firearms legislation and any changes to hate speech laws.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters, meanwhile, in a brief statement only said: "Elections happen every three years."

Setting the election date has always been the prerogative of the Prime Minister and the consent of a coalition partner is not needed.

The date means Parliament will sit for the last time on August 6 and will officially be dissolved on August 12. Advanced voting will be open from September 7.

The election will also run in parallel to two major referendums, one on legalising cannabis use and the other on voluntary assisted dying.

The preliminary result of those referendums won't be known until October 2, the Electoral Commission confirmed on Tuesday.

Election day will also coincide with Suffrage Day, marking women getting the vote in 1893.