11 Nov 2008

Key hopes to be sworn in time to go to APEC summit

12:08 pm on 11 November 2008

National Party leader John Key hopes to be sworn in as Prime Minister in time to attend a summit meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum in Peru next week.

Mr Key says it is in the best interests of the new Government for him to attend.

He says the 20th APEC Ministerial Meeting, in Lima on 19 and 20 November, is an important meeting as it will focus on the international financial crisis.

Mr Key says National needs to work in co-operation with the outgoing Government to see if it is possible for him to attend, and at the moment that is unclear.

He would have to be sworn into office by Monday week to enable him to leave for the meeting the following day.

National has enough seats to govern with support parties ACT and United Future, after a sweeping victory in the 2008 general election on Saturday.

Mr Key says it is unlikely the results of special votes in a fortnight would change the election result.

Meanwhile, Mr Key says he expects to be able to work well with his Finance Minister Bill English.

ON TV3 on Sunday night Mr Key dismissed suggestions he and Mr English are polls apart in their financial ideals. He described both he and Mr English as very centrist.

Coalition discussions

Mr Key says while coalition discussions will be held over the next few days, starting in Wellington on Monday, he's focused on dealing with the economic crisis.

But he says despite the country's financial difficulties, his party will not be reneging on its election promises.

"We fully costed our programme; we didn't over promise. At $1.75 billion I don't believe the new budget spending could be any less than that. This isn't the time to pull up stumps and stop spending in the economy."

Mr Key says National's job as the new government will be to do everything it can to protect jobs and get the country back on a growth path.

Definitely centrist - Joyce

National Party campaign director Stephen Joyce says Mr Key has made it clear he will lead a centrist government.

But Mr Joyce, himself a new MP, says its partners have not been decided and it's not ruling out coalition with parties other than ACT.

He says Mr Key will be holding coalition discussions with United Future and the Maori Party as well, and a decision will be made after that.

But he says one thing Mr Key has made clear is that ACT's founder and the architect of Labour's right wing economic reforms of the 1980s will not assume a Cabinet position.

Mr Key and his leadership team, deputy leader Bill English and senior MP Gerry Brownlee, gathered in Auckland for a meeting on Sunday afternoon.