John Key to form new NZ gov't within 10 days
WELLINGTON, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand National party leader and incoming Prime Minister John Key is expected to form the new coalition government in 10 days.
He is likely to form a government before the special votes are counted so he can travel to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) leaders meeting in Peru to represent the country at the end of the month.
New Zealand's National Party leader and Prime Minister-elect John Key speaks next to his daughter Stephie after winning the general election in Auckland Nov. 8, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Key's National Party had already made a deal before the election to form a coalition with New Zealand Act party and United Future party. The three parties, together, won 65 seats - enough to give them a majority in a 122-seat Parliament.
At a media conference in Auckland on Sunday afternoon, Key said the special votes would make little difference to the make-up of Parliament.
Key said he wanted to represent New Zealand at APEC where the world financial crisis will be discussed. The APEC leaders meeting is scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23 in Lima, Peru.
Key said under a National-led government, the economy would take center stage.
New Zealand's National Party leader and Prime Minister-elect John Key (R) celebrates with his wife Bronagh and children Max (L) and Stephie (2nd R) after winning the general election in Auckland, Nov. 8, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
National deputy leader Bill English and senior MP Gerry Brownlee earlier flew into Auckland for talks with Key at his home.
At Saturday's general elections, the National party secured 45.5 percent of party vote and 59 seats in the Parliament, while the Labor won 33.8 percent of the party votes and 43 parliament seats.
The first of National's major talks are expected to be with Act party. Act's leader Rodney Hide is likely to seek responsibility in Cabinet for local government, and for a regulatory review of red tape.
Peter Dunne, the United Future leader, remains in Parliament, and has also been guaranteed a ministerial post in the government.
Vote for change
In John Key's victory speech Saturday night, he said that New Zealanders had voted for hope, for action and for results.
"New Zealand has spoken. Hundreds of thousands across the country, they have voted for change," he said.
Key has vowed to move urgently to inject life back into the failing economy by investing millions of dollars in roads, school building and broadband internet cables.
And he intends to pass legislation before Christmas to cut income taxes by 16 billion NZ dollars (9.6 billion U.S. dollars) in April.
Clark stands down as Labor leader
Conceding defeat, outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark announced on Saturday night that she was standing down as Labor leader.
Labor's deputy leader Michael Cullen also announced later he was standing down from the position.
Clark congratulated John Key in a speech to supporters at Labor Party headquarters in Auckland.
Clark said she accepted the choice the public had made, and accepted responsibility for the election result.
Election officials said they were happy with the voter turnout at this year's elections.
The Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden said the provisional voter turnout this year was 78.69 percent, based on the number of eligible voters who enrolled by 05:00 p.m. on Friday.
More than two million votes were counted on Saturday night, and an estimated 240,000 special votes will be counted this week.
The Chief Electoral Office aims to declare the official election results on Nov. 22.