Independents hold balance of power - Key

10:57 am on 22 August 2010

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says Australia's election result now rests in the hands of the independent candidates.

Neither Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard nor Coalition leader Tony Abbott is likely to have enough seats for a convincing victory.

Votes counted so far have the Labor Party on 70 seats and the Coalition on 72.

That leaves four rural independents, holding the balance of power.

Mr Key told Radio New Zealand's Australian election special programme that he thinks one of the major parties will form a Government with the independents.

And, he said, if that's the case, Australia will end up with a minority government, similar to New Zealand.

Whatever the final result, Mr Key said it's likely to be business as usual because both the major parties have a strong and close affinity with New Zealand and want a good working relationship across the Tasman.