WELLINGTON // The New Zealand prime minister-elect John Key said today he wants to be sworn in by Nov 17 so he can attend the APEC leaders' summit in Peru five days later. Mr Key's centre-right National Party was swept to power in a national election yesterday and he will govern with the support of the conservative ACT and United Future parties. The vote count following the heavy defeat of Prime Minister Helen Clark's Labour Party won't be finalised until Nov 22.
But Mr Key said it was important New Zealand was represented at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit, which starts the same day, because of the seriousness of the global financial crisis. Preliminary election figures showed the National Party won 45.5 per cent of the vote, or 59 seats in the 122-seat parliament, with ACT's five seats and United Future's one ensuring a majority. Mr Key confirmed ministerial posts for United Future leader Peter Dunne and ACT leader Rodney Hide.
"They will certainly be ministers, whether they are ministers inside cabinet is something I think we need to discuss with them," Mr Key told a press conference. The pair would serve inside the cabinet if they were part of a formal coalition but outside if there was a looser alliance with National. Mr Key told reporters in Auckland he would also be seeking to include the indigenous Maori Party and its five seats within the government.
"It would be my preference if that was possible but obviously that's dependent on our ability to negotiate a successful agreement with the Maori Party," he said today. During his victory speech the previous night, the former investment banker who entered Parliament in 2002 said he wanted his government to serve the interests of all New Zealanders. *AFP