[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Ruling party set to gain in New Zealand vote
National Party could govern on their own for the first time since 1996 when proportional representation was introduced.
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2011 10:03
 John Key has won support over his responses to Christchurch's earthquake disaster and a deadly mine blast [Reuters]

Results coming in from New Zealand's general election show the ruling National Party has won a second term

Polls closed at 19:00 local time (06:00 GMT), and early exit polls suggested Prime Minister John Key's National Party is teetering on the edge of having enough votes to govern alone.

With votes being counted, Prime Minister John Key's National Party is expected to win between 60 and 62 seats out of a total of 121.

Observers say voters have warmed to Key over his handling of both the Christchurch earthquakes and the deadly blast at the Pike River mine in November 2010.

The All Blacks' recent victory on home soil in the Rugby World Cup final has also created a feel good factor in the rugby-mad nation which has played in his favour, they believe.

Economic issues

Economic issues have dominated the campaign, with Key promising to build on policies of the past three years with an emphasis on sparking economic growth by cutting debt, curbing spending, selling state assets and returning to a budget surplus by 2014/15.

Queues were reported at some suburban booths in major cities as fine weather brought out voters.

Key cast his ballot at a school near his Auckland home and said he was taking nothing for granted despite the party's commanding poll lead.

"You feel a combination of excitement and a little bit of nervousness and anticipation," Key told reporters.

Goff held on to hopes that the party would stage a late recovery, saying it was "all up to the voters".

Key may need to look to the Maori Party, which represents New Zealand's indigenous Maori people who make up 15 per cent of the population, as a possible coalition ally if needed after the party said it could repeat its support in the current parliament for the National-led government.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.