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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
NZ result confirms Labour victory
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
Helen Clark faced a resurgent National Party opposition
Final results from the general election in New Zealand have confirmed that the governing Labour Party is still the biggest in parliament.

Correspondents say Prime Minister Helen Clark is now likely to form a minority government with support from a number of smaller parties.

Her Labour Party has 50 seats in the 121-member parliament, two more than the main opposition National Party.

Ms Clark will be the first Labour prime minister to win three successive terms.

The election was held on 17 September.

Initial results were issued a day later but the final tally was delayed while special votes, from those overseas or outside their home district on polling day, were counted.

Tax cuts plan

National Party leader Don Brash finally conceded defeat after the result was announced.

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 party had hoped to overturn Labour's lead as the last votes were counted, but instead lost ground.

However, it almost doubled its vote, on a platform of tax cuts, closer ties to the US and pledges to cut state aid to Maori communities.

Ms Clark has said she would prefer to lead a minority government, seeking support from other parties for crucial legislation.

The BBC's Greg Ward in Auckland says the prime minister may have won a record third term but she has plenty of work ahead in forming and managing a stable government.

Labour already has the support of the Greens and the Progressive Party and can expect the backing of the indigenous Maori Party.

But New Zealand First and United Future have said they will not support the government if any Greens are given cabinet posts.

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