John Key announces he has numbers to govern

By Grant Fleming

Prime Minister elect John Key has announced the formation of a National-led centre-right government.

At a joint press conference with ACT leader Rodney Hide today, Mr Key announced he had formally signed up Act's support.

Click here for the full agreement

This afternoon, Mr Key and Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples also announced the terms of their support agreement.

Click here for the full agreement

Mr Key said United Future had also agreed to back National, giving his government 70 votes on confidence and supply issues in the incoming 122-member Parliament.

He said he had phoned Governor-General Anand Satyanand this morning to formally tell him he had the numbers to form a government.

Mr Key's formal inking of the deals paves the way for him to announce his Cabinet tomorrow afternoon and for him and his ministers to be sworn in on Wednesday.

That will allow Mr Key to fly out on Thursday to the Apec summit in Peru as New Zealand's new Prime Minister.

Parliament will be recalled to sit on December 8 for two weeks.

Under this afternoon's Maori Party agreement, Dr Sharples will become Maori Affairs Minister as well as as Associate Education Minister and Associate Corrections Minister.

Mrs Turia will be Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Health Minister and Associate Social Development Minister.

Both party leaders' posts are outside of Cabinet with the right to dissent on other policy issues outside portfolio areas.

National has also agreed not to remove the Maori seats without the consent of Maori and to a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Key said National and Act's agreement was based on the common goals of reining in government spending and boosting economic growth.

It includes ministerial roles outside Cabinet for Mr Hide and deputy Heather Roy as well as policy concessions.

Mr Hide will be appointed Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce.

Mrs Roy will be Minister of Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Defence and Education.

Policy concessions include an advisory group to look at ways of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025 and task forces to review government spending.

National will also support legislation on ACT's hardline "three-strikes" sentencing policy for violent offenders to the select committee stage and a complete review of climate change policy settings.

While the climate change review takes place, implementation of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be delayed. The current ban on non essential new fossil fuel-based electricity generation will also be scrapped.

Mr Key said National still backed an amended ETS and he expected one to be passed before the end of next year.

He said National and ACT were committed to stable government.

"There is a recognition from both sides that in order to promote strong growth in investment, employment and incomes, stable government and high levels of business confidence are required."

Mr Hide said the agreement formed the bedrock for a long-term relationship.

"All our discussions this week indicate we have the basis for a long-lasting fruitful relationship based on that mutual respect.

United Future leader, and the party's sole MP, Peter Dunne concluded negotiations with National last week, saying a deal had been agreed and was waiting to be signed.

The Maori Party also said last week it had completed a draft agreement with National, but wanted to consult its supporters at a series of hui before it signed a deal.

That deal will be signed at a joint press conference later today and Mr Key will also hold a joint press conference with Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne and Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia will also be given ministerial positions outside of Cabinet.

Because the three support parties will hold positions outside Cabinet, they are not part of what will formally be a National minority government.

The arrangement will also allow those parties to continue to criticise National on areas outside their ministerial responsibility.

- NZPA

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