19 Nov 2008

Key sworn in as Prime Minister

9:59 pm on 19 November 2008

National Partly leader John Key was sworn in as New Zealand's 38th Prime Minister during a ceremony at Parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Key and fellow ministers - including those from support parties ACT, United Future and the Maori parties - were sworn in by Governor-General Anand Satyanand.

Maori Party supporters performed a haka as co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples entered the Grand Hall.

The Cabinet met on Wednesday afternoon for the first time, during which Mr Key spelt out his expectations of performance and conduct from ministers.

Mr Key is confident his new ministers have the skills necessary to lift New Zealand's economic performance, saying this will be a government of change.

Earlier, there were emotional scenes on the steps of Parliament as Labour Party MPs and staff farewelled former prime minister Helen Clark, who formally resigned on Wednesday.

Miss Clark visited the Governor-General to end the Labour Government after three terms in office. With her was the Cabinet secretary, who carried letters of resignation from her ministers.

Miss Clark was leader of the Labour Party for 15 years until she resigned following the party's defeat at the general election, on 8 November.