7 Nov 2008

Clark, Key find parallels in Obama's win

6:20 pm on 7 November 2008

Labour's leader Helen Clark and National's leader John Key have both drawn parallels between what motivated American voters to elect Barack Obama as president and what the mood of voters in this country might be.

The two leaders appeared on TV One on Wednesday 5 November, in their last televised leaders' debate before Saturday's election.

Mr Key said the American public has voted for change and he hopes New Zealanders will do the same.

But Miss Clark's take on the US election was that Americans voted to reject right-wing politics, deregulation and unmitigated market forces running riot.

Earlier, both leaders congratulated Senator Obama on his victory.

Mr Key said if he becomes prime minister, he looks forward to having a strong working relationship with Mr Obama, while Miss Clark said she would look forward to working with the Barack administration on the challenges facing the globe.

Miss Clark said Mr Obama is taking office at a critical juncture, with many pressing challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis and global warming.

Mr Key said while it is difficult to determine whether Mr Obama would want to progress a bilateral free trade deal, a National government would work hard to ensure New Zealand's case is heard in Washington.

He said there was a high turnout in the US elections and early signs are that there will be a high turnout in New Zealand's poll.

The Maori Party said the world has witnessed history with Mr Obama's election.

Co-leader Pita Sharples said Mr Obama represents not only the strength of black liberation but an impressive commitment to the power of the people.