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New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English during news conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch


WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English called an election on Wednesday for Sept. 23 after taking over as premier in December following the unexpected resignation of his predecessor, John Key.

English's centre-right National Party has governed for the past eight years and is seeking a fourth term straight term, this time without the popular Key. The next election was due around September this year.

The centre-left Labour and Green parties have formed an alliance to challenge the National Party.

(This story corrects date in dateline and month English appointed PM to December from January.)

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Jane Wardell and Paul Tait)