Andrew Little considered stepping down with election just weeks away

Labour leader Andrew Little has admitted asking senior members of his party whether he should step down before the election.

"Late last week I raised it with senior colleagues because I thought it was a valid option to consider," he told NZME.

Labour is struggling in the polls, and because there are only eight weeks to the election, the party's rules would allow MPs to vote on a new leader without asking the membership.

Mr Little didn't reveal who he spoke to, but it's likely to have been deputy leader Jacinda Ardern, finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford.

Ms Ardern has repeatedly said she doesn't want the Labour leadership. Mr Little beat Mr Robertson in 2014's leadership battle.

While Mr Little said he remains "determined to fight", if Labour drops another percentage point or two on election night he faces the prospect of not making it back into Parliament.

That almost happened to Prime Minister Bill English in 2002, when he led National to a historic defeat - polling only 20.9 percent. While Mr English had his Clutha-Southland electorate seat to fall back on, Mr Little is list-only.

"They're struggling a bit, but he'll deal with that," Mr English told The AM Show on Friday.

"We're more concerned with the fact that if you add up all the NZ First, Labour and Greens, they could win an election today. We have a lot of hard work to do."

Ironically, to stay on as Prime Minister Mr English will need the support of three other parties - one fewer than the Opposition. But he says the centre-right coalition is more stable than the competing interests on the left.

"It's not just the personality conflict, it's the policy positions - all the promises NZ First are making, 23 bottom lines or something; the Greens' welfare policy, which is welfare without any responsibility whatsoever... and Labour just don't have a lot of policy."

Mr English is ruling out a deal with Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party, saying ACT has been "pretty reliable" over the past nine years.

"We've made an arrangement [with ACT] just last week. We're not going to be changing that."

The Opportunities Party is planning to run a candidate in the high-profile Epsom electorate, which ACT has held for the past nine years with National's approval.

The election is on September 23. Voting begins on September 11.

Newshub.

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