New Zealand Prime Minister-elect John Key took the first steps to cementing his new center-right government on Sunday after an emphatic election win over the ruling Labour party, Reuters reported.
Key, a former foreign exchange dealer with only six years political experience, met with senior National Party members to set out the shape and direction of the new government.
He pin-pointed the economy, which is in recession and faces further fallout from the global credit crisis, as his major challenge.
"Our job as a future government will be to do everything we can to make sure we protect as many jobs as we can here in New Zealand, get New Zealand back on the growth path," he said on Radio NZ.
Saturday's poll gave National 45 percent of the vote compared with 34 percent for Labour. That would translate into 59 seats for National in a 122-seat parliament, up from 48 seats in the previous parliament.
Labour is likely to have 43 seats, down from 49.
Under New Zealand's proportional voting system National was unlikely to gain an outright majority, but was assured of power with the support of the small free-market ACT Party, which won 5 seats, and the one seat of the centrist United Future.
New Zealand markets, battered in recent times by the global financial crisis, were seen drawing some comfort from National's decisive win.
"The fact that the coalition has a decent majority and a broad mandate to make changes will be seen as a positive," Goldman Sachs JBWere economist Shamubeel Eaqub told Reuters.
National's campaign had emphasized Key's background in financial markets, saying he was best suited to navigate New Zealand's economy through troubled waters.