8 Nov 2012

PM and Labour leader welcome Obama win

5:02 am on 8 November 2012

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer have congratulated US President Barack Obama on winning a second term in office.

Mr Key said he looks forward to further developing New Zealand's relationship with the United States.

"With President Obama's re-election there will be many opportunities to enhance the relationship, which is built on shared values and a commitment to improve the prosperity and well-being of our people," he said on Wednesday night.

"I have enjoyed working with President Obama during his first term as president and welcome the opportunity to continue our strategic partnership over the coming years," he said.

Mr Key said he will send President Obama a letter of congratulations on Thursday and will relay them in person when they meet at the East Asian Summit in Phnomh Penh later this month.

Mr Shearer also congratulated Mr Obama, saying the election had been a gripping, closely fought race.

"New Zealand has close ties with the United States and a warm relationship with its people that will continue to flourish under the leadership of President Obama," he said.

Waterfront celebrations

US Ambassador David Huebner threw an election night party on the waterfront in Wellington and told several hundred guests it was a celebration of his country's vibrant democracy.

Fairfax reports the Chicago Bar was packed.

"It's a great day for American democracy and for democracy generally - this is how it is supposed to work," Mr Huebner said.

"I actually find here in New Zealand there's more interest on average than back home," he said.

"And if you talk to some of the Kiwis in the room tonight, they know more about the American electoral process and American electoral history than most Americans do."