Asia

New Zealand opposition leader Phil Goff resigns

Phil Goff, pictured on 26 November 2011 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Phil Goff said his party would rebuild and come back stronger

New Zealand opposition leader Phil Goff has resigned after his Labour Party was heavily defeated in Saturday's general election.

The ruling National Party was returned to power with 48% of the vote, its best result in decades.

The Labour Party secured just 27% of the vote, losing nine seats in parliament.

Mr Goff said that he and his deputy, Annette King, were stepping down to allow the party to rebuild.

"I believe the Labour Party can and will fight back," he told journalists after meeting with Labour MPs.

And he promised to support his successor, who will be elected on 13 December.

"I want to pledge whoever might be leader or deputy leader of the Labour Party that they will have my full support," he said.

Mr Goff has been the opposition leader since 2008.

The National Party, led by Prime Minister John Key, secured 60 of parliament's 121 seats. The party is now negotiating with smaller parties to form a coalition government.

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