Key Points:

Prime Minister-elect John Key will meet Act and United Future allies today to form a Government as speedily as possible with the hope that his Cabinet can be sworn in within a week.

And if there is a swift transition of power, Mr Key could spend his first week as PM out of the country.

Putting pressure on the timetable for transition to power is Mr Key's wish to fly to Peru on Tuesday next week to represent New Zealand at Apec, where the global financial crisis will be top of the agenda.

He would also take his Foreign Minister, who will be Murray McCully, and his Trade Minister, Tim Groser.

At a press conference yesterday following the election victory on Saturday, Mr Key said National had campaigned on the economy and the result showed the public wanted a Government to focus on economic issues.

"We see the economy as front and centre stage of the issues that we face."

National would ask the Treasury and Reserve Bank for an update this week, he said.

And he regarded his attendance at Apec in Peru in New Zealand's interests because it was an extremely important meeting that would focus on the world's financial issues.

Mr Key can attend Apec if he is sworn in as Prime Minister by next Tuesday.

He hoped to be able to work that possibility through "in the spirit of co-operation with the existing Government to see if that is possible". "At this stage I'm not sure about that."

A spokeswoman for outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark indicated last night that speedy transition would not be a problem if National could show the Governor-General it had the numbers to govern.

"The transition to the new administration is a question of National's timetable, and the outgoing Government will facilitate a smooth transition."

Helen Clark lost power on Saturday after nine years as Prime Minister.

She and her deputy, Michael Cullen, gave notice that they are resigning their posts. Outgoing Trade and Defence Minister Phil Goff is expected to become leader. Helen Clark will chair her last Cabinet meeting this morning.

Compared with the 2005 result, Labour has seven fewer seats and National has 11 more.

But with retirements and new seats, both parties will welcome a swag of new MPs to their respective caucus meetings in Wellington tomorrow - 16 for National and eight for Labour.

The Greens have two more seats, the Maori Party one more, Act three more, United Future two fewer and the Progressives stayed at one.

After 15 years in Parliament, New Zealand First and its leader, Winston Peters, have been voted out altogether.

Former Labour Party finance minister Sir Roger Douglas returns to Parliament after 18 years as an Act list MP.

But Mr Key yesterday reiterated his refusal to have Sir Roger as a minister - outside Cabinet as well as inside.

However, Mr Key is expected to sign up Act and United Future for positive support on confidence and supply votes with policy concessions in line with pre-election undertakings.

He said yesterday that he was open to both a traditional coalition or the sort of arrangement that gave smaller parties greater freedom to express contrary views to the main party - the basis of NZ First and United Future's arrangements with Labour.

"What works best from their perspective," Mr Key said.

Act leader Rodney Hide and United Future leader Peter Dunne will become ministers. Mr Hide can expect something like Revenue or Commerce. National had earmarked Mr Dunne for the Speaker's role but he has spurned the job.

Mr Key will meet Maori Party negotiators tomorrow. The party is not needed to form the Government.

But it could expect to win some policy gains and a formal consultation agreement in return for its abstention on confidence and supply votes.

Mr Key said his preference would be to win the Maori Party's support for a positive confidence and supply vote, which would take his majority from 65 with his two allies, to 70.

The Maori Party has previously said that entrenchment of the Maori seats was a bottom line for its support. But co-leader Tariana Turia indicated yesterday that because the party does not hold the balance of power it has had to adjust its expectations.