Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Prime Minister John Key on Australian election: 'Winning ugly is better than losing tidy'

Prime Minister John Key likened the Australian coalition's prospects for a win in the election to the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Prime Minister John Key likened the Australian coalition's prospects for a win in the election to the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Getty Images

Australia's election results are hanging on a knife-edge today, as Prime Minister John Key likens the embattled Coalition's prospects of a win to a Rugby World Cup victory.

"Winning ugly is better than losing tidy," he said on TVNZ's Q and A.

With about 77 per cent of the vote counted, the Liberal-National Coalition and Labor had each won 67 seats, the Greens one and independents four. Pundits are split over whether incumbent Malcolm Turnbull or Labor leader Bill Shorten will take the reins.

Incredibly, the result will not be known until tomorrow, but even if the coalition is returned, it may require the support of unpredictable independents.

Speaking to reporters at the National Party conference in Christchurch yesterday, Mr Key said: "Whatever happens, obviously our hope is that the new Australian Government will be in a position to drive their economy and to deliver the results that Australians will want because Australia is our biggest market for goods and services on a combined basis."

National had won every election on a minority basis.

Mr Key said he counted Liberal leader and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a friend and a good Prime Minister, and hoped he would win.

One of the curve balls thrown up by the election is the potential return to the senate of Pauline Hanson, from the One Nation party.

"I don't think it's new in terms of those sort of fringe parties that argue very much against migration and integration and the like. Winston Peters has been around for decades in New Zealand arguing those, and at various times ... enjoyed more or less support."

Labour Party leader Andrew Little heaped praised on his centre-left counterpart in Australia.

"I think Bill Shorten and Labor have done an excellent campaign, and it's reflected in the results they've got." Greens co-leader James Shaw was tipping a Coalition win.

- NZ Herald

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