National to form a minority government, keeps allies out of Cabinet; Goff to be named Labour leader today; Vela brothers make late $100,000 donations; Key loves the limos; men living longer; and more
National is moving quickly to negotiate the coalition agreements that will allow it to start governing as early as the end of the week. The DominionPost leads with the news that in a "surprise move" prime minister-elect John Key will lead a minority government after yesterday offering ACT and United Future ministerial portfolios outside Cabinet. Key is to make the same offer to the Maori Party today, writes Colin Espiner in the Press, so he is "not beholden to ACT". The New Zealand Herald says ACT is pushing for a second ministerial post, for deputy Heather Roy. Leader Rodney Hide may take a post in the economic area.
Labour has also moved decisively, with Phil Goff and Annette King expected to be named the party's new leaders today unopposed. Goff's spokesman yesterday confirmed the Mt Roskill MP had put his name forward to be leader. The DomPost's Vernon Small says Helen Clark was instrumental in assuring a smooth change, while the Herald understands that David Cunliffe has been offered the crucial finance spokesmanship in return for not standing against King.
Labour and National received last minute $100,000 donations from the controversial businessmen Philip and Peter Vela 10 days before the election. Labour president Mike Williams has told the Herald there were no conditions attached. Meanwhile the DomPost reveals that John Key spent $217,000 of taxpayer's money on chauffer-driven limos last year, more than any other MP.
The Greens also met yesterday, and emerged expecting an "intense" three years. Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says her party will be the main voice in parliament for the planet and the most vulnerable people.
New Zealand men are living longer, and catching up with the life expectancy of women according to new Statistics New Zealand figures. Women on average still live four years longer than men (82 years compared to 78), but based on deaths between 2005 and 2007, male life expectancy has increased 1.7 years over five years, compared with just one year for females.
The Otago Daily Times reports student fury at a University of Otago proposal to increase postgraduate fees for 2009 by up to 13 percent. The Students' Association says, "This is just milking postgrads".
Finally, it's Cup Week in Christchurch, with the New Zealand Trotting Cup run today. The $1.2m race is the country's richest-ever harness race.