10 Nov 2008

Australia's PM congratulates Key

3:24 pm on 10 November 2008

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has congratulated National Party leader John Key on his election victory and invited him for a state visit.

National will be able to form a new government with the support of ACT and UnitedFuture.

National secured 45.5% of the party vote compared with Labour's 33.8%.

Mr Rudd said he telephoned Mr Key on Saturday night to congratulate him on "a fine win for himself and his party".

"I've also invited John to visit Australia at the earliest opportunity for him to undertake an official state visit," Mr Rudd told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Rudd said "I think that would be a great opportunity to begin this new period in the relationship."

The trans-Tasman leaders took a fresh commitment to work together, Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd did not appear to lament the loss by the NZ Labour Party, saying the relationship between Australia and New Zealand was strong and beyond party politics.