(Reuters) - New Zealand's prime minister-elect, Christopher Luxon, said that Nicola Willis was "locked in" to become the country's next finance minister, at a Tuesday news conference as talks continued with likely coalition partners.
Luxon's centre-right National Party and preferred coalition partner ACT New Zealand won a razor-thin electoral victory on Saturday, together securing 61 seats in 121-seat parliament.
Roughly 567,000 special votes, around 20% of the total, must still be counted, and Luxon has said his party was waiting for those votes to be counted while working on building relationships with both ACT and New Zealand First.
Willis, National's finance spokesperson, was widely expected to become minister of finance, according to media reports.
"The only two people we've locked in is Prime Minister Chris Luxon and Finance Minister Nicola Willis," Luxon told reporters, without giving details on the rest of his cabinet.
Ministers will not be announced until the country has a new government in place and these roles will likely be part of National's negotiations.
The official result is due on Nov. 3, and conservative parties have historically lost at least a seat with the final count and so Luxon might require the support of New Zealand First to form the government.
New Zealand is currently being governed by a transitional government run by Labour.
(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Aurora Ellis)