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NZ leaders congratulates Obama
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New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on Wednesday congratulated U.S. Democrat Senator Barack Obama for winning the U.S. presidential election.

"The New Zealand Government very much looks forward to working with the new Obama administration," Clark said in a statement.

"New Zealand and the United States have a long history of friendship and co-operation. We look forward to building on what is already a strong relationship with the United States," she added.

Clark said Obama would be taking office at a critical juncture.

"There are many pressing challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis and global warming," she said. "We look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama and his team to address these challenges."

Clark also paid tribute to John McCain. "I commend Senator McCain on a hard-fought campaign, and wish him well for the future. "

New Zealand's major opposition National party leader John Key said Obama's victory was historic.

Key says if he becomes prime minister after Saturday's election, he looks forward to having a strong working relationship with Obama.

Key said there was a high turnout in the U.S. elections and early signs are that there will be a high turnout in New Zealand's poll.

New Zealand will hold general election on Nov. 8.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2008)

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