Mr Key has the keys to New Zealand

NZ is a nation of only 4 million people so might seem of no importance.  But for people tired of the squabbles of the big world it could be very important indeed.  It is about as far away from Europe as you can get and has a very large ocean separating it from the USA.  And perhaps most importantly, NZ consists of two large and beautiful islands (imaginatively named North Island and South Island) with a very mild climate.  Even in the South of the South island, snow very seldom stays on the ground for long.  And they speak English (in a rather odd way) and you can drink the water!  And you never have to Press 1 for English.  Worth thinking about  -- particularly for soon-to-be snowed-in residents of the Northern USA

New Zealand's ruling National party secured a third term in government in the election on Saturday, winning an outright majority on a platform to continue strong economic growth.

Prime Minister John Key's centre-right party received 48.1 per cent of the vote, giving it 62 of 121 parliamentary seats and improving its performance on the previous vote in 2011.

The 53-year-old former foreign exchange dealer triumphed despite allegations of dirty political tactics involving government ministers, and claims that a government spy agency had planned mass secret domestic surveillance.

The National Party was set to make electoral history under the proportional voting system by being able to govern on its own, but is seen as having strengthened its majority by renewing support deals with minor parties which formed the previous coalition government.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, David Cunliffe, conceded defeat yesterday, with the centre-left party winning 24.6 percent of the vote.  "The truth is, the party vote has returned a National government, and over the coming days and weeks we will need to reflect upon why," Mr Cunliffe said in his concession speech. He said he had called Key to congratulate him on his victory.

"It is rare for any government to be defeated while surfing an economic rebound with around a four percent growth rate, even though the longer-term problems remain to be addressed," Cunliffe added.

Key said he was "ecstatic" about the result. "It's a great night," he said. He added that people could see the nation was moving in the right direction and that he was grateful to them.

Key campaigned on the government's record of economic management and strict controls on spending, which helped New Zealand record decade-high growth.


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