By Grant Fleming of NZPA Wellington, Nov 10 NZPA - Negotiations to form the next government have begun with Prime Minister elect John Key entering talks with ACT leader Rodney Hide.
National still holds a commanding lead over Labour and NZPA's average of published opinion polls shows that with its allies it would have a majority in Parliament and be able to form a government.
The ACT Party wants to get rid of district health boards and put doctors and nurses in charge of hospital departments.
Opinion polls showing the Greens and New Zealand First gaining support are indicating the election could go either way. While National still leads Labour in all the surveys, Helen Clark could be in a position to pull a majority together with the backing of the minor parties.
Finance Minister Michael Cullen indicated in Parliament today that the tax cuts he will announce in the May 22 Budget won't include a reduction in the top rate. After a grilling yesterday, Dr Cullen again faced probing questions from opposition MPs about his intentions.
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