New Zealand PM John Key wins second term


New Zealand Prime Minister John Key won a second term Saturday, with voters in no mood for change after a tumultuous year marked by a devastating earthquake and glory in the Rugby World Cup. Key’s centre-right National Party fell just short of an outright majority but lifted its vote by more than three points to 48.1 percent, its highest in 60 years, and will form government in coalition with minor parties. “What an awesome night, and what a wonderful night to be the leader of the National Party,” he told cheering supporters at Auckland’s upmarket SkyCity Casino.
The election followed a turbulent 12 months for New Zealand, which was rocked by February’s Christchurch earthquake, in which 181 people died, and buoyed by last month’s victory in the Rugby World Cup. Key, 50, won plaudits for his leadership through the quake, as well as a colliery explosion in which 29 miners died, and much of National’s campaign was based around his personal popularity. “In the worst of times you see the very best of New Zealanders and I’m proud to be prime minister of this great country,” the former investment banker said.
The main opposition Labour Party secured only 27 percent of the vote, its worst result since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996. Labour leader Phil Goff said he accepted the electorate’s decision but his party would hold the government to account and rebuild for the next election. “It might not be our time this time, but our time will come again and we will be ready to take New Zealand forward,” he said, refusing to say if he would stay on as leader.
“We’re a bit bloodied but we’re not defeated.” However former Labour Party president Mike Williams: “It’s an an unmitigated disaster.” The result gives National 60 seats in a 121 seat parliament but support from existing coalition partners ACT and United Future, with one seat each, gives it the required 61-seat threshold in the proportional representation parliament.