AUCKLAND - Voting closed in New Zealand's general election on Saturday, with polls suggesting the center-right National Party, led by John Key, will sweep back into power with an increased majority.
Key has promised to build on policies of the past three years with an emphasis on sparking economic growth by cutting debt, curbing spending, selling state assets and returning to a budget surplus by 2014/15."The most important thing is getting the economy right," said salesman Kelly Weaver, 25, after voting. He said he did not want to leave New Zealand to look for work in neighboring Australia, as around 34,000 New Zealanders have done in the past year.
Election officials reported a strong turnout in many areas as fine weather brought out voters. More than 320,000 votes were cast in advance, up around 20 percent on the 2008 election.