9 Nov 2016

NZ politicians brace for US election outcome

9:11 am on 9 November 2016

New Zealand MPs are either being optimistic, diplomatic or recommending New Zealanders build bomb shelters ahead of tomorrow's US presidential election.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Labour leader Andrew Little and Prime Minister John Key say they are prepared to work with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Photo: AFP

Americans go to the polls Wednesday New Zealand time in a tightly fought race between the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican, Donald Trump.

Prime Minister John Key said the US campaign had been pretty brutal, and he thought both candidates would be pleased when it was over - but he wouldn't say who he thought was going to win.

Mr Key said if Mr Trump won, it was his job as the prime minister to deal with him.

"There are plenty of leaders around the world that we meet with that have certain policies that we don't agree with, we still go and meet with them, really on the basis of trying to change their mind."

Labour's Andrew Little was also playing it safe.

"It's important for New Zealand that we have a strong a relationship with the US as possible, and I would do everything I can to make sure that relationship was as strong as possible.

"If it meant meeting with Donald Trump, then I would do that."

Labour Party MP Annette King at a media standup after the release of Budget 2016.

Annette King Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs

But his deputy leader, Annette King, said she wanted Mrs Clinton to win.

"And I want her to be the first woman president of the United States, they are a long way behind New Zealand [which] has had two prime ministers who are women."

Government Minister Paula Bennett agreed.

"I'm hoping that Hillary Clinton will win, I think it would be great to see a woman in the top job and it would be good for America, but we'll see what happens."

ACT Party leader David Seymour said, since Mrs Clinton had been cleared by the FBI over the most recent batch of emails, he was revising his earlier prediction Mr Trump could win.

"It may be that there'll be no apocalypse tomorrow, but I still recommend people get, buy a bomb shelter kit, construct it tonight, just in case the worse happens."

Mr Seymour said New Zealanders should be very concerned about Mr Trump getting his hands on the nuclear codes.

"Because you've got a guy who has shown he doesn't feel any constraints or limits.

"I've never seen him at any time, restrain himself, pull back and say 'hang on a minute, I have [to] follow some rules for the greater good' and having a guy like that with nuclear weapons is particularly concerning."

Labour's Kelvin Davis was thinking along the same lines as Mr Seymour.

"I hope to god that it's Hillary Clinton [tomorrow] because if I was America I would vote for the candidate least likely to cause World War III."

The first US election results are expected to start coming in early Wednesday afternoon.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs