Wellington (Agencies): New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Wednesday announced that general elections will be held in the country in November.

The country was due to vote in elections sometime this year, and Key's center-right National-led government is widely expected to comfortably win a second three-year term whenever they are held.

The Rugby World Cup will be held from Sept 9-Oct 23 at various venues around the country and is expected to be hugely popular among New Zealand's some four million people.

Key named Nov 26 as the election date, a little more than a month after the tournament final.

"This gives the public clarity," Key told reporters.

"The Rugby World Cup is a huge opportunity for New Zealand, the biggest event it has ever staged, and we can showcase the country to billions of viewers. I don't want to undermine that by playing politics with the election date," he said.

New Zealand governments typically delay the announcement of elections to keep political rivals guessing and to give themselves a head start in campaigning.

Leader of the Opposition Labour Party Phil Goff said his party would be ready for the campaign, though its poll ratings have been low since it was swept from power in 2008 after three straight terms.

John Key has unprecedented popularity since he became Prime Minister in the 2008 election. His personal popularity has also lifted his government to consistently high poll ratings.