Obama win good for NZ - Key

Last updated 09:34 08/11/2012
US President Barack Obama
Reuters
RE-ELECTED: US President Barack Obama
John Key
Fairfax NZ
JOHN KEY: Congratulated Obama on his win.

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President Barack Obama's re-election will mean opportunities for New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key says.

Key last night congratulated Obama on his win and will today write a formal letter of congratulations.

The two men will meet again at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia later this month.

* See a full wrap of coverage of the US election

"I have enjoyed working with President Obama during his first term as President and welcome the opportunity to continue our strategic partnership over the coming years," Key said.

New Zealand's relationship with the United States was a close one, he said.

"With President Obama's re-election, there will be many opportunities to enhance the relationship."

US ambassador David Huebner said election day was a great show of American democracy but both candidates would have continued to support the New Zealand-US relationship.

He hosted celebrations at the Chicago Bar and Grill on Wellington's waterfront yesterday afternoon.

There were US flags, life-sized cutouts of Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and paraphernalia of both political parties.

"Election day is always a great day for us... what I'd be doing if I was back home if the same thing I'm doing here: sitting somewhere in front of a television, any where there's a television there's a little corner of America," Huebner said.

Victoria University students Lucho Arca and Paolo Alejandro, both 18, were at Chicago Bar yesterday because they find US politics more interesting than the Beehive goings-on.

"There's more money in it I guess," Arca said.

"Since we're young we just see Obama as a nice guy, and I guess that's one thing that draws us to him I guess."

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she believe Obama had done a good job despite facing difficult times.

"I know that America and relationship has remained reasonably cordial no matter who's in power in which country."

Right-wing political blogger David Farrar said it was a close race but Obama had the momentum going into the election.

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Hurricane Sandy had helped him but was unlikely to have changed the result, Farrar said.

"If it'd been a week earlier I think it would be a real nail-biter result."

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD

The problems that dogged Obama in his first term, which cast a long shadow over his 2008 campaign message of hope and change, still confront him. He must tackle the US$1 trillion annual deficits, rein in the US$16 trillion national debt, overhaul expensive social programs and deal with the split Congress.

The most urgent focus for Obama and US lawmakers will be to deal with the "fiscal cliff," a mix of tax increases and spending cuts due to extract some US$600 billion from the economy at the end of the year, barring a deal with Congress.

Economists warn it could push the United States back into recession.

- KATE CHAPMAN/Stuff, with REUTERS

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