Second term victory for NZ premier

PRIME Minister John Key has convincingly won a second term as New Zealand’s leader in elections that open the door for the sales of billions of dollars worth of government assets as part of a plan to reduce the country’s debt.

Key’s centre-right National Party has promised to get the nation’s books in order and begin paying down foreign debt within the next three years. That message has taken on a new resonance after the country’s credit rating was downgraded and the situation in Europe has shown how debt can quickly become toxic.

The National Party dominated the election, coming up just short of getting enough votes to govern alone. With most of the votes counted, the party was projected to win 60 of the 121 seats, an increase of two. Key will look to some of the minor parties for support in forming a stable government.

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“Tonight New Zealanders voted for a better future, and there will be a better future,” Key said in his victory speech.

The centre-left Labour party, which had opposed asset sales, won 27 per cent of the vote.