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[EastAsia] Fwd: G3* - NEW ZEALAND- NZ leader wins 2nd term, pledges fiscal discipline

Released on 2012-07-29 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 1069315
Date 2011-11-28 08:04:59
biggest thing to note from election is that Key can now proceed with the
planned asset sales (they're expected to raise between $NZ5 billion to
$NZ7 billion).
49 percent of Genesis Energy is expected to be the first on the block, but
Key has also promised to sell minority stakes in power companies in
Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and coal producer Solid Energy. The
Nationals also campaigned on cutting the govt's 74 percent stake in Air
New Zealand to 51 percent.
Why does Stratfor potentially care? Because there are a lot of energy
assets on offer here. Let's watch and see if/how China responds.
NZ is in a very different economic position to Oz - last year they posted
a record deficit of $NZ18.4 billion - so there are definite opportunities
for willing buyers.

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: G3* - NEW ZEALAND- NZ leader wins 2nd term, pledges fiscal
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2011 08:50:39 -0600 (CST)
From: Adelaide Schwartz

NZ leader wins 2nd term, pledges fiscal discipline
By NICK PERRY | AP aEUR" 1 hr 51 mins ago. Nov. 26, 2011
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) aEUR" Prime Minister John Key convincingly
won a second term as New Zealand's leader in elections Saturday that open
the door for the sales of billions of dollars worth of government assets
as part of a plan to reduce the country's debt.
Key's center-right National Party has promised to get the nation's books
in order and begin paying down foreign debt within the next three years.
That message has taken on a new resonance after the country's credit
rating was downgraded this year and the situation in Europe has shown how
debt can quickly become toxic.
The National Party dominated the election, coming up just short of getting
enough votes to govern alone. With most of the votes counted, the party
was projected to win 60 of the 121 seats in Parliament, an increase of
two. Key will look to some of the minor parties for support in forming a
stable government.
"Tonight New Zealanders voted for a better future, and there will be a
better future," Key said in his victory speech.
The center-left Labour party, which had opposed asset sales, won just 27
percent of the vote, meaning it will lose about nine of its 43 seats. Like
National, it also promised to get the books in order aEUR" but Labour
planned to do it by introducing a capital gains tax and raising the age of
retirement by two years, to 67.
Phil Goff, Labour's leader, said the party was "bloodied, but not
"It wasn't our time this time," he told supporters. The poor showing makes
it likely Goff will soon step aside.
Key plans to sell minority stakes in four government-owned energy
companies and in Air New Zealand in order to raise an estimated 7 billion
New Zealand dollars ($5.2 billion).
The National Party's win could also open the door for more mineral
exploration and offshore oil drilling. Labour had proposed a moratorium on
deep-sea drilling after a cargo ship ran aground last month near the North
Island port of Tauranga, spilling about 400 tons of fuel into the ocean
and onto local beaches.
Key's win will also likely continue the country's warming relationship
with the United States. For a quarter-century, New Zealand's ban on
nuclear warships caused a rift, particularly over defense. However, New
Zealand's small troop presence in Afghanistan and a promise by the U.S. to
send a contingent of Marines to New Zealand next year point to a thaw.
The U.S. and New Zealand are also among nine Pacific countries negotiating
a free trade deal in the region.
The election was also marked by the unexpected return to Parliament of
Winston Peters, the mercurial leader of the anti-immigration New Zealand
First party, which has shored up support among older voters who approve of
its generous policies for them.
New Zealand First won about 7 percent of the vote, enough for eight seats,
after getting shut out of the last election in 2008.
The Green party, meanwhile, enjoyed its best showing ever, winning 11
percent of the vote.
But the election also spelled the near-demise of the conservative Act
party, which won five seats in the last election but this time could
manage just one. Act party leader Don Brash announced he would resign
National's campaign hinged on the personal popularity of Key, a former
currency trader whose easygoing demeanor appeals to many. His image was
placed on hundreds of National billboards.
Key's common touch was reassuring to people when a powerful earthquake
struck Christchurch last February, said Jennifer Lees-Marshment, a
political studies lecturer at the University of Auckland. It also enabled
him to share in their excitement in October when the country's national
All Blacks team won the Rugby World Cup.
Voters were also deciding whether to keep their electoral system, in which
parties win parliamentary seats based on the proportion of votes they
receive. Some wanted to return to a winner-takes-all format, although
polls indicated most favored sticking with the current system.
The final results of that measure won't be known for two weeks. In early
results, however, about 54 percent of voters favored keeping the
German-style proportional system.