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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Labour's Clark forms NZ coalition
Helen Clark
Ms Clark has made history by leading Labour to a third term
New Zealand's Labour party has made a deal with smaller parties on leading a coalition government, newly re-elected Prime Minister Helen Clark has said.

Ms Clark won a narrow victory in polls last month, becoming New Zealand's first Labour leader to win three consecutive terms in office.

Her coalition has the support of smaller right and centre-right parties.

The leader of the anti-immigration, nationalist New Zealand First Party has been named foreign affairs minister.

"I have every confidence that this government... will be durable and will enable us to offer strong, progressive and stable government," Ms Clark said.

'Similar views'

Elections in September gave the Labour Party 50 seats, two more than the main opposition National Party.

Ms Clark said Labour has entered a formal coalition with the Progressive Party, which has one seat.

Labour - 41% (50 seats)
National - 39% (48)
New Zealand First - 6% (7)
Greens - 5% (6)
United Future - 3% (3)
Maori - 2% (4)
Act - 1.5% (2)
Progressive Party - 1% (1)

The New Zealand First (seven seats) and centre-right United Future (three seats) parties have also agreed to back her government in critical votes, she said.

That means her coalition will have the support of 61 votes on these issues, while the opposition will have 50 votes.

The head of the New Zealand First Party, Winston Peters, has been named by Ms Clark as minister of foreign affairs.

But he will not be a member of the cabinet, where most of his policy decisions will have to be approved.

He will be responsible for foreign policy but will not handle refugee and trade issues, Ms Clark was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

Despite his criticism of Labour's immigration policies, Mr Peters' party has echoed Labour's anti-nuclear stance and its refusal to commit troops to the US-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"His views on foreign policy are very similar to those of Labour," Ms Clark said.

Daily Telegraph Australia NZ government deal 'close' - 9 hrs ago
Courier Mail 10.24am NZ government deal 'close' - 9 hrs ago
The Australian Clark tempts Peters with key post - 9 hrs ago
Otago Daily Times High price demanded for Peters' key votes - 30 hrs ago
Sydney Morning HeraldPeters to be minister in NZ Labour govt - 14 Oct 2005
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