Premier Darrell Dexter may be in the dying months of Nova Scotia's first-ever NDP government, but he's promising no extra spending in 2013 to try to win votes.

The Dexter government is heading into his fourth year, so Nova Scotians could be heading to the polls in the coming year.

Governments seeking re-election often offer voters pre-election goodies. But Dexter said that's not the way he plans to try to win a second mandate.

"The Tories that just went out did more than a billion dollars in three years in unbudgeted operational spending. We have done exactly the opposite. You can expect we will continue to do the same. We brought the departments in under budgeted figures every year and I want to continue to see that happen," he told CBC News.

Dexter and his New Democrats won an historic election in 2009. They claimed a majority of seats and became the first NDP government anywhere in Atlantic Canada.

Dexter said he's confident people will see the benefit of re-electing his government. He hopes to get some credit for backing the construction of Halifax's new convention centre, Irving's shipbuilding contract and the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

Work on those mega-projects will either be underway or start in 2013.

Dexter said his focus is on doing what's right for the province, not what's popular.

"It's not about making everybody happy all of the time," he said.

That goes for longtime party supporters too.

"There will be people who have been with us in the past who are unhappy, but at some point in time they're going to have to compare us to the alternative and I always say don't compare me to perfection. Compare me to the alternative."