As it happened: New Zealand election 2014

By Robert Smith

Rolling coverage of the results of the New Zealand 2014 election as they come in, with reaction and analysis of the vote.
Newly elected Prime Minister John Key celebrates on stage after delivering his victory speech at Viaduct Events Centre. Photo / Getty Images
Newly elected Prime Minister John Key celebrates on stage after delivering his victory speech at Viaduct Events Centre. Photo / Getty Images

Election interactive: Every vote, every seat, every booth - as it happens

New Zealand Herald Editor-in-Chief Tim Murphy live tweets the election

Lucy Lawless: campaign work done - next job help Iron Man

Advance votes show Nats big gain win

11.44pm:

"Three more years," said John Key at his victory speech tonight.

"Ladies and Gentleman, this is a victory for those who kept the faith ...

who refused to be distracted and a vote for National was a vote for a brighter future," he said.

"So tonight, I've had a very gracious call from David Cunliffe who conceded defeat and I thanked him for that.

"I feel both humbled and energised by the result and the prospect of a third term. Can I take a moment to thank the voters of Helensville who election after election have given their vote to me."

- APNZ

11.42pm:


11.35pm:

"This is a victory for those who kept the faith." - John Key

11.29pm:

John Key has arrived at the National Party's main gathering in central Auckland to speak to loyal party supporters.

11.28pm:

As he left the New Lynn Community Centre, David Cunliffe said he did not offer his resignation because he did not believe the party's poor performance was a reflection of his failure as a leader.

"I think this is a whole series of things we will reflect upon," he said.

"I will offer myself as a process which is a proper constitutional process."

He rubbished a suggestion the Labour Party members no longer wanted him as leader.

"I don't believe that's true. I believe I've performed credibly on the trail and the feedback I've had from around the party is that I retain the confidence of the party."

Mr Cunliffe said he did not believe New Zealanders had showed no confidence in the Left.

"It's obviously not just even limited to the Labour Party and it can't be limited to one individual," he said.

"We have to reflect very, very carefully on the result. I have the strength and belief in the Labour Party and New Zealanders that we will turn this around and we will get a better future for New Zealand."


Labour leader David Cunliffe thanks the audience after he concedes defeat. Photo / Getty Images

- Herald On Sunday staff

11.26pm:

Jacqui Dean will retain the seat of Waitaki, although new blood will be introduced from the southern electorates.

National candidate Todd Barclay has swept aside his rivals in Clutha-Southland to enter parliament for the first time.

With almost 94% of the vote counted in Dunedin South, Labour candidate Clare Curran has an unassailable lead.

The National Party will again win the party vote.

Labour candidates Rino Tirikatene, Dr David Clark and Clare Curran look poised to retain their seats.

- Otago Daily Times

11.20pm:


11.17pm:

National list MP Dr Cam Calder is tonight full of praise for the stamina of his party and leader for weathering a campaign full of distractions and still coming out on top.

"The public saw a prime minister who performed extraordinarily well over a long period of prolonged stress," Calder said.

"It meant he was dealing with issues which weren't policy, it was smoke and noise."

But now New Zealand would have John Key as a Prime Minister for a third and possibly fourth term, Calder said.

He also believed that both Labour and the Greens were victims of their own poor campaigns which played into National's hand.

"The Left chose a very odd slogan which was Vote Positive, draw your own conclusions as to why they chose it. The Greens were victims of their own publicity," the Manurewa-based list MP said.

National, he said had a track record of success for two terms.

"We have improved access to education, we have protected children with immunisation, we have made homes warmer and dryer, we have boosted the achievement of Maori and Pacifica."

- Michael Botur

11.13pm:

Political editor Audrey Young made a prediction for tonight that ran in yesterday's Herald, and says that four out of five predictions "ain't bad at all".

"National will be to govern alone. It won't make 50 per cent but because the Conservatives will fall short of the five per cent threshold, their large wasted vote will lower the threshold of what constitutes half of the Party Vote. Hone Harawira will lose in Te Tai Tokerau, Peter Dunne will lose in Ohariu but Trevor Mallard will just hold on in Hutt South."

11.10pm:

National HQ at the Viaduct Events Centre was rattled a few minutes ago by a bang.

Herald photographer Mark Mitchell reports it was someone backing their car into the building - accidentally.

- Audrey Young

11.08pm:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has conceded, saying he has called John Key and congratulated him on his win.

But giving his speech to his followers tonight he said: "You are amazing. Can I just say to you that you should all be very proud, you have worked so hard for what is right and good and decent in this country. You have worked to make this country to be the most decent in the world....you are incredible, you are courageous, you are hard-working, you are Labour."

"Today has seen a record turnout effort. I would like to sincerely like to thank our hard working caucus."

Mr Cunliffe then conceded, saying: "I have called John Key and congratulated him. There has never been a campaign like this. But New Zealanders have chosen to continue and we respect that choice, and clearly stated that wealthy individuals cannot buy politics, be it Kim Dotcom or Colin Craig.

These sideshows have distracted from the issues that matter to our country. We need to make sure we deliver to our commitment to pacific voters because they have delivered to us.

"The truth is the party vote has returned a National Government and we need to find out why. We must realise that our opponents have built a formidable political machine. They have had the benefit of a stable leadership, we have changed leaders three times."

Mr Cunliffe said that starting tomorrow, Labour would begin a three-year campaign for the government benches.

"That campaign and that rebuild starts now. I still believe that over this campaign we have seen a growing move for change in New Zealand. Labour's challenge over the next three years to be united and ready to govern. We need to rebuild and renew across our organisation."

- Herald On Sunday staff

11.05pm:

Dotcom said Internet-Mana lost because of him.

"The brand Kim Dotcom was poisoned ... and I did not see that before the last couple of weeks."

He apologised to Mr Harawira and the Maori people.Immediately after giving his speech,

Mr Dotcom said he took full responsibility for the loss.

"I'd like to apologise to Hone Harawira who tonight unfortunately has lost his seat. And I take full responsibility for that as well. I'd like to say sorry to Mana.

"And the Maori community who have treated me really well, I'd like to say to you that I'm really sorry that your voice is not in Parliament now."

However, he said the party had definitely made an impact

"I think we have achieved with our campaign, we have opened the eyes of a lot of New Zealanders.

Mr Dotcom saluted his supporters before storming out of the building in a waiting SUV, declining interviews.

- Matthew Theunissen

11pm:


10.53pm:

David Cunliffe has confirmed he has conceded to Prime Minister John Key.

"It has been an incredible privilege to lead this fine party."

He said it was clear Labour would not be able to form a government.

"It is time to put aside political differences for the good of the country"

10.52pm:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has begun his election night speech to the Labour Party gathering.

"You are amazing," said Mr Cunliffe. "You should all be very proud."


Internet Party leader Laila Harré is embraced by supporters. Photo / Jason Oxenham

10.50pm:

There are now just a handful of seats with knife-edge races.

Maungakiekie, which for long periods of the vote count, looked marginal has swung decisively to National's Sam Lotu-Iiga who holds a 2000 vote lead over Labour's Carol Beaumont.

But in other tight races:

Auckland Central: 496 votes in it. Nikki Kaye just ahead of Jacinda Ardern.

Hutt South: Trevor Mallard is just holding on against National's Chris Bishop with just 384 votes in it.

Ohariu: Peter Dunne is steadily increasing his lead to hold Ohariu but still has only a 944 vote majority.

All three seats have more than 90 percent of the votes counted.

10.45pm:

Epsom winner David Seymour opened his valedictory speech at the Quality Inn in Parnell with a simple "hi".

"The people of Epsom, Mt Eden, Mt Albert, Remuera, I'm honoured and humbled to be your new Member of Parliament."

Mr Seymour thanked the volunteers who had helped him with his campaign.

"Together we have ran an enormous ground campaign.

"We have personally delivered, by hand, 85,000 pieces of personally addressed direct mail.

"We have knocked on over 30,000 doors, we have met hundreds of people in house meetings across our electorate."

Act leader Jamie Whyte described the party's vote result as a "terrible disappointment" that was not due to a lack of effort.

Dr Whyte said he was moved by the support he had received, adding; "I'm the leader of the party, the failure is my responsibility".

- Brendan Manning

10.43pm:

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said the campaign was a success, but the party was drowned out by other issues like Dirty Politics.

"It's not the result that we wanted, but we have held our vote.

"There has been a slight shift to the right ... but to be frank, there's nothing I would do differently. We stuck to the issues. We did our best to get those out."

Internet Party leader Laila Harre said Hone Harawira was defeated by the "votes of the National Party".

- Derek Cheng

10.42pm:

Napier Labour candidate Stuart Nash has won the Napier seat with all the votes now counted.

Mr Nash won the seat with a 3733 majority and 14,041 of the 32,905 total votes.

Wayne Walford (National) claimed 10,308 votes, while Garth McVicar (Conservative) seemingly split the vote with 7135 votes.

10.40pm:

From the New Zealand First base Spencer on Byron in Takapuna, Leader Winston Peters has, in a grim fashion, thanked his party and congratulated his new MPs, whose numbers are yet to be confirmed.

After a morose description of the campaign season, he warned of hard times ahead.

"We appreciated the many kindnesses we have received as we travelled around the country, and that travel wasn't easy for much of the time. Real issues were side-lined by dirty politics and allegations of illegal spying, so our thanks for our party members who despite the winter months of this campaign made many sacrifices for the party.

"On the most limited of resources and up against those with millions of dollars, we were able to communicate our common sense policies to enough people to lift our result and bring in more MPs and I congratulate them. "

Peters said New Zealand needed to confront a 'huge mountain of debt,' and warned of 'harder times ahead'

"Enough voters saw that we suffer from a two tier economy, Auckland Christchurch and then the rest of New Zealand, where so many of our provinces are suffering. The time is tonight for reason and reflection, we are not living in a rockstar economy and indeed this is a most uncertain time for anyone contemplating the next three years of government."

He also criticised Labour in his speech to about 100 supporters in Takapuna.

''There will be those who wanted more from this election but did not make the effort at the right time.''

''I think the moral for the Labour Party is that you cannot have this internecine strife where some people put their narrow interests ahead of that of the party or the greater cause. It's a real lesson for the Labour Party.''

Asked whether he believed the Conservatives had taken votes that otherwise would have gone to NZ First, Mr Peters said: ''Well they did. I always said it was going to be a wasted vote for them'', he told reporters later.

''They had millions of dollars to spend, they would have spent ten or 11 times what we spent. It just shows you that some of their financial backers for that party don't have much of an idea about investment returns.''

Mr Peters believed his endorsement of Kelvin Davis had helped swing Te Tai Tokerau for the Labour candidate.

''I believe that Kelvin Davis is a fine man and the north needed someone who would see the big issues for the region.''

''To run a narrow race based party as Hone has done and then to sell out to Kim Dotcom was always going to be a disaster.''

- Bevan Hurley and Adam Bennett

10.38pm:

National's campaign manager Steven Joyce said tonight was about celebrating a victory and a successful campaign.

"I don't expect we'll be able to govern alone. We can be reasonably confident of a National-led Government

"We tend to lose 1 [per cent] on special votes."

He said working with Winston Peters in the next Government was a possibility.

"That will be a matter for the Prime Minister to consider with the senior leadership team tomorrow ... there's been no call yet."

Mr Joyce said the campaign that included a number of issues targeting National had galvanised its supporters to get out and vote.

- Derek Cheng

10.34pm:

The Young Nats are happily basking in the praise of Paula Bennett tonight after she thanked them before anyone else and insisted that they underscored National's victory this time around.

Young Nats President Sean Topham is also proud of his database of over 5000 volunteers who spent 10,000 volunteer hours over 8 weeks, with the support of 15,000 facebook fans, to boost National's campaign.

"I have been to Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington with our committed volunteers who have thrown everything into this, to make sure National get over the line tonight,"

Many of those 5000 members took time off work or delayed assignments to aid the young Nat cause.

The admiration was mutual for Topham as he described Bennett as a great leader.

"She is a guide for the young Nats, and John (Key) I never met anyone more supportive, I can flick him a text and he is happy to help us out," Topham said.

Topham also cited Nikki Kaye and Simon Bridges as 'great people who have gone through the Young Nats.'

He said most of the Young Nats did not have political aspirations, just a desire to help.

"I can't speak for all they go off into business and into various spheres of society, "We have worked hard to make young people care about politics which is why we are the biggest youth wing today."

"We give the Party a run for their money, we encourage the party to be better, to be innovative and fresh and use social media," explained a proud Topham.

- Michael Botur


National supporters at the National election party at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. Photo / Mark Mitchell

10.31pm:

With 95 per cent of the vote counted, National was sitting comfortably on just over 48 per cent. that would give them a total of 62 seats in Parliament.

Labour was on just over 24 per cent for 31 seats, with the Greens on 10 per cent (13 seats) and NZ First just under 9 per cent (11 seats).

The Conservatives have failed to meet the 5 per cent threshold with just over 4 per cent of the vote and would have no seats in Parliament.

The Maori Party and Internet-Mana have just over 1 per cent each, but the Maori Party would take two seats but Internet-Mana would have none.

Act and NZ Future have under 1 per cent but would take a seat each.

- Lucy Bennett

10.28pm:

David Cunliffe has left Herne Bay for New Lynn with his wife Karen Price and party president Moira Coatworth in the front of the Crown limo.

- Audrey Young

10.25pm:

Act's Epsom candidate David Seymour has been introduced by the party's president John Thompson as "the new MP for Epsom"

"Ladies and gentlemen, the new Act member for Epsom, David Seymour."

Mr Seymour entered the room to chants of "Seymour, Seymour" with past Act leader Don Brash beaming as Mr Seymour made his way through the cheering crowd.

Mr Seymour said the eight-month campaign paid off.

"Thank you to the people of Epsom ... My door will be open on Monday. If you live in the electorate, I want to serve you."

- Brendan Manning / Derek Cheng

10.24pm:

Napier, considered one of the seats to watch, is likely to be won by Labour.

With over 40-percent of the vote counted in Napier, Labour's candidate is just over 2000 votes ahead.

The right vote has been split between the Conservatives Garth McVicar and National's Wayne Walford.

Stuart Nash says Garth McVicar took some votes from Labour as well.

"Well the thing is we did a lot of phone canvassing and we believe that Garth McVicar has act taking votes off us as well as Walford."

- Jeremy Rees

10.23pm:

A senior Labour MP admits the party's share of the vote isn't looking good.

It currently holds a 23-percent share, with 37-percent of votes counted.

Grant Robertson says it's concerning.

"I think it's fair to say that obviously we're wanting to see a better result out of the advanced votes, which have obviously all been counted out now, but we'll wait and see until the final results come in."

- Newstalkzb.co.nz

10.22pm:

Friday's Herald-Digipoll compared to tonight: Nat 48.2% (48.4 now), Lab 25.9% (24.24) , Greens 11.1% (10.07) , NZF 8.4% (8.97).

Check out Friday's Digipoll here.

10.21pm:


10.19pm:

The crowd and National Party HQ let out a huge cheer every time the big screen shows Kelvin Davis ahead of Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

- Audrey Young

10.18pm:

Metiria Turei said the Greens would deliver and cleaner, smarter New Zealand.

"We would have liked more to have voted to give us a stronger result, but we all gave our all for this election campaign.

"We could not have done anymore."

- Derek Cheng

10.15pm:

The vote count at Auckland Central is creeping higher with National's Nikki Kaye ahead by 747 votes with 85 per cent of the vote counted.

Jacinda Ardern for Labour has been pressing hard all night.

But the party vote in Auckland Central has decisively gone to National with around 8300 votes currently to Labour and Greens on 3800 each.

Ardern said: "We had a pretty harsh boundary change in April, which means we lost a pretty Labour area in Grey Lynn which went over to Mt Albert so we knew it was going to be really tough this time."

But Jacinda Ardern says she would like to see Labour's Party Vote go higher.

The National Party vote in the electorate is almost double Labour's.

10.13pm:

Over at the National Party party, Kati Coleman can't stop laughing.

"Hone's out, ha ha ha," she chortles, waving her wine-free hand in the air.

"It's good to see New Zealanders have stood up and said 'enough' to Dotcom-Mana."

The 54-year-old self-employed Aucklander has never been to the party's official election night shindig before, despite being a lifelong Nat.

"I came because I was nervous. It's been a complicated campaign ... so bloody well done John Key, well done New Zealand."

- Cherie Howie

10.09pm:

NZ First leader Winston Peters said that despite the result, the great majority of New Zealanders will see "that we cannot go on as we were".

"There are some people who will not get what they wanted out of this election, because they did not make the right effort at the right time."

Green's co-leader Russel Norman did not comment directly on missing out on the target of 15 per cent.

"It's about the same number of MPs we have at the moment, so we still have a strong base to work with.

"We always want more [MPs]."

Asked if Dirty Politics got in the way of the campaign, he said: "I think it did, a bit."

Labour candidate Kelvin Davis said that he'll be "ecstatic" if his lead holds once all the votes were counted.

"I'll wait until the last booth is counted and finlaised and until then I'm going to keep my feet on the ground.

"We're excited up here obviously. It's been a lot hard work by a lot of people and hard working volunteers on the ground and my support crew and I can't speak highly enough of the support I've got."

- Derek Cheng

10.04pm:

Labour's campaign manager David Talbot said it was hard to get the party's core message out.

"I'm confident we ran a really strong campaign. We've knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors.

"The numbers don't seem to be quite what we hoped on the night.

"It's been an interesting kind of campaign. It's been hard to get the airspace we wanted to."

He said the result wasn't "tragic".

"You always want to do better than this."


David Parker checks how his fellow party members are tracking. Photo / Greg Bowker

- Derek Cheng

10pm:

Hone Harawira said the votes still needed to be counted, and he didn't know which booths were still to come in.

"It's just a case of which polling booths will come in.

"I'm not about to concede defeat. There's a long way to go."

- Derek Cheng


Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira watches television coverage alongside a supporter. Photo / Kenny Rodger

9.58pm

David Seymour's father Breen Seymour, who has come down to Parnell from Whangarei to watch the election results roll in, said the result for his son in Epsom was looking good and he was feeling happy.

"I've had a nervous father day today but I'm pretty happy at the moment.

"I would like to see a bit of a higher party vote for Act and I'd like to see Jamie to get in so he's got an associate - that's the way I'm feeling at the moment."

Breen said his son was nervous, but confident when he spoke to him earlier today.

"He's worked very, very hard for this. He's been campaigning since February.

"I'm definitely a proud father."

Breen said no firm celebration plans were yet in place. "Nothing over the top, just a quiet word [of] congratulations."

David's brother Alexander has come up from Dunedin to support his brother and said he had spent the past few days with him helping him on the campaign trail.

"It looks like he's well on his way, I'm pretty happy for him.

"I've been pretty happy with the response that he's got. People are generally very positive towards him.

"When we were out sign waving we get a lot of toots.

"I've got a huge amount of respect for what he's been doing."

- Brendan Manning

9.53pm:

Annette Sykes, the Internet-Mana candidate for Waiariki, has officially conceded. In an exclusive interview with the Rotorua Daily Post, she said the left had split the vote.

Meanwhile, Todd McClay said he was cautiously optimistic about half way into the count for the Rotorua electorate.

"I'm really pleased with how the count is going so far, but there is still a long way to go."I'm surrounded by one of the biggest groups of supporters I have had at any election and we're all looking forward to see the final outcome."

His rival Tamati Coffey has not given up, saying he and a nervous support team were watching and waiting to see how the count progressed.

"Everyone has a knot in their stomach, there's still a long way to go," Mr Coffey said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

9.50pm:

Now is a good time to remind you all about our news application at data.nzherald.co.nz which will let you explore the election results for every electorate, every candidate and every polling booth.

We're using the 2011 election results to begin with and will update with 2014 votes - live as they come in tonight. Readers can search all 71 electorates - both general and Maori - and zoom in to see how the country voted in the last election right down to individual polling booths.

EXPLORE THE RESULTS WITH OUR INTERACTIVE HERE

Click on a booth marker to bring up the candidate and party vote results at that particular polling booth. Tonight, those electorate and poll booths will update live as the Electoral Commission releases the official election results.

Readers can also switch between new and old electorate boundaries, to show how the recent changes might affect the outcome of the election.

On top of the election results, each page has an electorate "profile" showing the income and ethnicity breakdown for each seat in the country.

9.45pm:

Auckland Central is a very tight race.

Incumbent Nikki Kaye is only just ahead of Labour's Jacinda Ardern, despite National winning comfortably the party vote.

With 63% of the vote counted, Kaye is ahead by just 236 votes, even though National is winning the party vote well ahead of the second placed Greens.

See the results as they unfold here.

- Jeremy Rees

9.41pm:

Earlier tonight, retired Hamilton multi-millionaire Laurence Day, who together with his wife Katrina gave $675,000 of their own money to the Conservative Party's campaign, said he was feeling quietly confident.

Mr Day, who received more than $10 million for his share of a private training organisation when it was sold recently, was once a National Party stalwart but now backs the Conservatives, mostly because he is a strong supporter of binding referenda.

Asked if the contribution would be wasted if the Conservatives fell short of the 5 per cent mark, he told the Herald he was philosophical.

"I put that money aside for a cause that I really believe in...we're giving it a shot...we've certainly put ourselves seriously on the political map, and going forward people will take us a lot more seriously."

Mr Day said he believed the strong campaign meant labels such as "fringe" could no longer apply to the Conservatives. If the party did make it into parliament he was hopeful action could be taken on binding referenda. But tonight's result was not an "end game", and the party was here to stay.

- Nicholas Jones

9.39pm:

NZ First President Anne Martin says the result so far is disappointing for Labour, saying ''I feel for them''.

She won't acknowledge a closer result would have given NZ First more leverage and remains happy about NZ First's 9 per cent so far, still hoping for 10 per cent.

Leader Winston Peters and any of his current MPs are still nowhere to be seen among the 80 or so at the party's election night function in Takapuna.

- Adam Bennett


Paula Bennett at Viaduct Events Centre tonight. Photo / Doug Sherring

9.37pm:

Paula Bennett is in a very festive mood at the National Party election headquarters saying she will not be attending a Cabinet meeting tonight though she is planning on a National win.

"Cabinet won't meet tonight, there will be texts and phone calls of congratulations, we concentrate on family and supporters, tomorrow is another day."

"It is a bit early yet, it certainly looking like we will be the biggest party but what that mix looks like makes it a bit more interesting."

Labour, she says, will be mopping up rather than partying.

"They will have their own mess to clean up internally before they look outside depending on the result, they have never been hugely united anyway they will spend more time looking at each other than anyone else," she said.

- Michael Botur

9.33pm:

A nervous-looking David Parker has arrived at Labour's base in New Lynn.

With Labour's vote sitting at below 24 per cent, the party's deputy leader said: "It's not looking very likely yet.... we'd obviously hope for a better result than this."

As a list MP, Mr Parker's return to Parliament is at risk if Labour's party vote is too low.

Asked if he was concerned about his re-election, Mr Parker said: "It doesn't really matter if David Parker is toast or not," before clarifying: "I think I'll still be a member of Parliament tomorrow."

Mr Parker added: "I haven't worked those numbers out accurately because if it was that bad then that would be a deserved outcome."

He said he expected the party vote to rise, but "we're obviously not going to make 30 per cent".

Asked about what the low vote means, he said: "That's a decision for tomorrow. Today we honour the people who voted for us.

"It is possible there could be a rise in the party vote ... I'm not very happy with the party vote where it is sitting now."

He looked on the bright side, saying Stuart Nash looked like he was going to win Napier, and Carol Beaumont was neck and neck with Sam Lotu-Iiga in Maungakiekie.

Colin Craig said he was hoping to pass the 5 per cent threshold, but it wasn't looking likely.

"There's been a substantial increase in our support, in our vote, and we are less than three years old as a party.

"But you go out to win. It doesn't look like we're going to make it. There'll be people who will be disappointed."

He was already looking to the next election, saying the party would be a "dead cert" to pass 5 per cent in 2017.

And he fired a shot at "backside handshakes" with National in Epsom and Ohariu.

"Even though we're the fifth highest polling party, we still won't have an MP ... That's just the system we work with."

- Isaac Davison / Derek Cheng

9.30pm:

Labour seems to be on track to win back at least two of Maori seats. Labour's Adrian Rurawhe is leading the Maori's Party's Chris McKenzie in Te Tai Hauauru.

That's the seat vacated by Tariana Turia. And in Tamaki Makaurau, Labour's Peeni Henare have a 500 vote lead on the Maori Party's Rangi McLean.

That seat left empty by the departure of Pita Sharples.

The Te Tai Tokerau race looks like a nail-biter with Mana's Hone Harawira trailing by 40 votes to Labour's Kelvin Davis.

- Newstalkzb.co.nz


Kelvin Davis. Photo / Chris Loufte


Hone Harawira. Photo / Jason Oxenham

9.28pm

Still no sign of David Seymour or Jamie Whyte at the Act party's election base in Parnell.

Party president John Thompson said the pair were in a hotel room watching the election results roll in and would front the 200-strong crowd within the hour.

Mr Thompson said their best polling had the party vote at 1.2 per cent and expected strong support from the Chinese community.

"We spent 80 per cent of our government electronic media [budget] in the Chinese media.

"We've really targeted that market."

- Brendan Manning

9.25pm:

Nearly half of Kiwis who cast their vote ahead of tonight's election want National to lead the country for another term.

Close to 48 per cent of the total advance votes, released just after 9pm, were for the National Party.

Based on the results, National would gain 60 seats in Parliament - 41 electorate and 19 list seats.

Labour pulled 24.4 of the vote - a proportion that would give them 26 electorate seats and five list seats.

The Green Party came in third with just under 10 per cent, which would get them 13 list seats but no electorate seats.

New Zealand First pulled 9.1 per cent of the vote, theoretically getting them 11 list seats.

The Conservative Party didn't make the 5 per cent threshold with 4.3 per cent, while Internet-Mana votes accounted for 1.5 per cent.

ACT and United Future scraped 0.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, but would hold one electorate seat each.

A record number of New Zealanders cast advanced votes ahead of today's general election.

According to the Electoral Commission, more than 700,000 people had already voted before the polls opened today, up from 334,000 in 2011 and 270,000 in 2008.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said this was not necessarily a reflection on overall voter turnout, given that prior to the 2011 election people had to provide special reasons in order to to cast an advanced vote.

In 2011, 3,070,847 people voted in the general election - 74.2 per cent of eligible voters - and 2,990,759 voted in 2008 - 79.5 per cent.

- Cassandra Mason and Matthew Theunissen

9.22pm:

Auckland's Maungakiekie seat is now officially a dead heat.

Held by National's Sam Lotu-Iiga, he is under extreme pressure from Labour's Carol Beaumont.

Check out the results here.

- Jeremy Rees

9.20pm:

Stephen Joyce has commented on the dirty gotcha 2014 election campaign, stopping short of calling it bullying.

"This election is noted for the sheer number of attempts people have had a gotcha politics trying to alter the semblance of different parties."

"I've seen ( the gotcha) efforts from several elements of the left," Mr Joyce said.

He said when people are struggling to win policy arguments they tended to focus on other things

"This is my fourth election as a candidate, campaigns are always different they never go as you think."

Mr Joyce said at this point he is unsure precisely what the parliamentary make up will be at the end of the night.

"We can safely say we will be the largest party but we can't say what those numbers will look like. Those numbers are unclear due to the effects of advance voting."

"There's always lessons learn from gotcha politics. That's what makes the machine get better each time. We will sit down again in a few weeks and look at what we will do differently next time," he said.

Mr Joyce was unsure how long it would take to put the cabinet together, he said it is a case of how long it takes to put a government together.

- Michael Botur

9.16pm:

Cheers and applause erupted at the National Party election night venue as TV footage showed Labour's Kelvin Davis was just ahead of Internet-Mana candidate Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

9.13pm:

With 25 per cent of the vote counted, National was still leading with a commanding majority with just over 48 per cent of the vote.

Labour trailed on nearly 24 per cent, with the Greens just under 10 per cent, NZ first on 9 per cent, the Conservatives still under the 5 percent threshold on just over 4 per cent and Internet Mana and the Maori Party on under 2 per cent each.

Act and United Future remained on under 1 per cent.

- Lucy Bennett

9.06pm:

Here's the closest seat races so far:

Te Tai Tokera: Hone is ahead by just one vote in Te Tai Tokerau.

Auckland Central: Nikki Kaye leading Jacinda Ardern by just 299 votes with 22 percent of the votes counted

Maungakiekie: A tight race with National's Sam Lotu-Iiga just ahead of Labour's Carol Beaumont by 237 votes with 20 percent votes counted.

Palmerston North: Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway is just ahead of Jono Naylor by 294 votes with 12 percent votes counted.

- Jeremy Rees

9.03pm:

Labour's Kelston candidate Carmel Sepuloni is refusing to get excited despite a 1000-vote lead in the new electorate of Kelston with 23 per cent of the vote counted.

She was re-elected in 2011 by just eleven votes, but after a judicial review was booted out of Parliament by a margin of nine votes.

Speaking to the Herald at Labour HQ in New Lynn, she said: "I'm never too comfortable on election night."

Ms Sepuloni has spent the last three years as the chief executive of a Pacific Island mental health organisation.

"I'm ready for Parliament now," she said. "But let's just wait and see what happens."

- Isaac Davison

8.57pm:

Gerry Brownlee says he is surprised at the current strength of the New Zealand First vote compared to the Greens.

With 25 percent of the vote counted the Greens have 9 percent of the vote, NZ First 8.6%. Click here for latest results.

Mr Brownlee is at National's Christchurch headquarters.

He's feeling pretty good, saying things appear to be trucking along well and National's Party vote is looking strong.

But he is surprised by how strong the New Zealand First vote is compared to the Greens.

He says they appear to be tracking side by side.

- newstalkzb.co.nz

8.55pm:

TV3 senior news reporter Amanda Gillies caught this:


8.53pm:

A "nervous" National Party president Peter Goodfellow has arrived at National's HQ.

Although he was quietly confident, it was too early to tell how the party had fared.

"I'm already nervous and I'm a nervous person ... with MMP every election is close, this one is no different."

Goodfellow said deputy Prime Minister Bill English was sharing pizza with media outside the Prime Minister's home in Parnell, but would also soon arrive at the event.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who is in a tight battle for her seat with Labour's Jacinda Ardern, is also expected to attend.

The PM was a couple of hours away, at least, Mr Goodfellow said.

He did not know if embattled MP Judith Collins -- who resigned her ministerial post last month following the release of hacked emails alleging an abuse of power -- would be at the Viaduct Events Centre.

"I haven't spoken to her this week", Mr Goodfellow said.

Labour's Kelston candidate Carmel Sepuloni was refusing to get excited despite a 1000-vote lead in the new electorate of Kelston with 23 per cent of the vote counted.

She was re-elected in 2011 by just eleven votes, but after a judicial review was booted out of Parliament by a margin of nine votes.

Speaking to the Herald at Labour HQ in New Lynn, she said: "I'm never too comfortable on election night."

Ms Sepuloni has spent the last three years as the chief executive of a Pacific Island mental health organisation.

"I'm ready for Parliament now," she said. "But let's just wait and see what happens."

- Herald On Sunday staff

8.47pm:

Our Herald team of political analysts have just run through their list of seats to watch:

Ohariu: Peter Dunne looking reasonably strong in Ohariu.

Port Hills: Can Ruth Dyson hold off a challenge from National?

Te Tai Tokerau: Don't believe the TV pundits. This is anyone's race and Hone Harawira is not safe - yet .

Maungakiekie: National won it last time but this is way too close to call.

Te Atatu: Labour's Phil Twyford cleaned up here last time but this is a tight race now and National are winning the party vote.

Napier: Conservative's Garth McVicar is currently in 3rd place and Labour's Stuart Nash is winning the seat in style

Hutt South: This is Trevor Mallard territory. But Mallard is having one heck of a fight against National's Chris Bishop.

8.43pm:

The mood is buoyant at NZ First's election night function in Takapuna as the party's early vote tracks ahead of its recent polling.

Party President Anne Martin has arrived at about 8pm to find the party polling at just over 9 per cent, ''which is exciting''.

''It's much better to be the president of a party that's performing well than one that's not so I'm enjoying it''.

A final tally of 9 per cent at the end of the night would be ''excellent result'' but Ms Martin is hoping for 10 per cent.

That would likely bring Mt Roskill candidate Mahesh Bindra in on the list at 11.

''There has been a definite surge in our popularity," he told the Herald but wouldn't offer a view on his chances of making it into Parliament.

Earlier, NZ First youth wing leader and board member Curwen Rollinson noted that for a period earlier in the evening ''we've been outpolling the Greens, that's absolutely amazing''.

''The polls had us on 8.5 per cent or thereabouts and they always underrate us. We've got a situation of massively increased turnout we're on course for a massively increased result.''

- Adam Bennett

8.39pm:



8.38pm:

Labour leader David Cunliffe is holding his New Lynn seat from a challenge by National's Tim Groser. But the party vote is heading once again towards National.

With 20 percent of the vote counted, National is ahead by 230 votes on the party vote.

Cunliffe is leading Groser by around 807 votes. In 2011, he held a 5000 vote majority.

Check out the latest results here.

- Jeremy Rees

8.35pm:

Around 150 Maori Party supporters are at the Waiteti Marae, just outside Rotorua, to support Te Ururoa Flavell on election night.

The party co-leader and Waiariki seat candidate arrived with his family an hour or so ago and has sat down for a roast dinner.

Red, white and black balloons are everywhere, and live music is playing in the background.

- newstalkzb.co.nz

8.31pm:

National's campaign director Steven Joyce says he was confident that the advance vote would be significant for National.

It remains to be seen how it reflects on the overall vote, he said.

"We felt Epsom was always going to go Act's way ... Palmerston North will go down to the wire."

He said it seemed at the moment that Labour had shed votes to New Zealand First and the Conservatives.

He said National normally drops a bit as more and more of the vote comes in, but at the moment it looks as though National had not been hurt by Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics.

- Derek Cheng

8.22pm:

About 400 supporters of the Green Party munched into a vegan feast at its election night HQ in Auckland.

As results were beamed on to a giant TV screen at the Hopetoun Alpha hall, guests enjoyed plates of humus dips, Vietnamese spring rolls, plus potato, coconut and silverbeet samosas followed by fruit platters.

The Auckland party faithful also paid tribute to supporters in London via Skype.

The London Greens celebrated with an election day breakfast. Supporters in Melbourne also were in touch with Auckland via Skype.

"The London Greens have been really active and their support has been important," party spokeswoman Leah Haines said. "We got an extra MP at the last election through special votes from our supporters overseas."

Steven Joyce was the first minister sighted at the Nationals function.He was happy to plunge straight into interviews.

"I'm poli-filler" he joked.

In Rotorua, Mr Flavell said he was hoping to hold at least three seats at the minimum.

- Russell Blackstock

8.19pm:

Another to watch.

The Auckland seat of Maungakiekie is shaping as quite a battle.

National incumbent Sam Lotu-Iiga is under severe pressure from Labour's Carol Beaumont. Currently with 20 percent of the vote counted there is just 237 votes in it.

This could be close.

- Jeremy Rees

8.15pm:

The Internet Party may try to set up in other countries around the world regardless of tonight's election result, the party's campaign director says.

Speaking at its election event at the Cloud on Auckland's Viaduct, Mikee Tucker said the Internet Party had been trademarked in 29 countries.

"We'd really looking to go to places like Mexico and Brazil so I'm very keen to take it global

"The original message of the Internet Party - to digitise democracy and bring politics into the 21st century - is something that is going to take a while to achieve and one election won't do that."

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom and party leader Laila Harre are expected to arrive at the event sometime around 9pm.

- Matthew Theunissen

8.10pm:

With just over 17 per cent of the vote counted, National had just over 48 per cent. Labour had nearly 24 per cent and the Greens a touch over 10 per cent.

NZ First was not far behind with just over 9 per cent while the Conservatives looked positive on more than 4 per cent.

Internet Mana and the Maori Party were just on the 1 per cent mark while Act and United Future languished on less than 1 per cent.

- Lucy Bennett

8.07pm:

Keep an eye on Auckland's Te Atatu seat.

In 2011, Labour's Phil Twyford won it with a 5000 vote majority.

But tonight, with around a quarter of the votes count, Twyford is in a very tight race with National's Alfred Ngaro.

Bookmark this one. It looks like a seat to watch.

Meanwhile, with 23 percent of the vote counted National's Nicky Wagner is holding off a strong challenge from Labour's Tony Milne.

Christchurch Central was one of the seats which Labour hoped to pick up after National scraped to victory with fewer than 50 votes in 2011.

Milne told the Herald's Isaac Davison just five days ago that the party was targeting voters in the city disgruntled about slow progress on earthquake recovery.

"Labour's taking Christchurch really seriously. We know there's a lot of anger and frustration in the city," he said.

Check out the live results for Christchurch here.

- Jeremy Rees

8.03pm:


8pm:

There a lot of NZ celebrities are abroad. What are they up to tonight? A quick scan of Twitter and we get this:

Lorde is having a great time.


Russell Crowe is probably thinking about football.


Melanie Lynskey is excited about her new TV show:


And Rachel Hunter has said goodbye to Seoul:


Anna Paquin hasn't tweeted anything since September 12. We like to think she's currently reading our blog.


- Owen Vaughn

7.57pm:

Around 40 Act party faithful gathered at the Quality Inn in Parnell.
Act's Epsom candidate David Seymour, who according to preliminary results is in the lead in the electorate, is having dinner with friends in Remuera, while the party's leader Jamie Whyte is spending time at home with his family as the initial election results are counted.

The Act party will need to receive 1.4 per cent of the party vote, or around 28,000 votes for Dr Whyte to join Mr Seymour in Parliament if he's successful in winning the Epsom seat and 2.2 per cent of the party vote - around 52,000 votes - for Act's deputy leader Kenneth Wang to join them on the same proviso.

Act party president John Thompson, who is MCing tonight's event, said Mr Seymour was "romping in" the electorate vote in Epsom.

- Brendan Manning

7.53pm:



This is Peter Tchernegovski, he's 89-years-old and used to mow David Cunliffe's lawns. "This will be my first and my last drink," he says. He comes to Labour HQ every election year.

- Amy Maas

7.50pm:

Forming a government in New Zealand can be tricky. Our chief political editor Audrey Young on the many and varied potential combinations under MMP:

The simplest and quickest would be for a single party to win a majority of the party votes.

But that has not happened since the first MMP election in 1996.

The first talks under MMP in 1996 comprised parallel talks conducted by New Zealand First between National and Labour. They took two months. The fastest talks were in 2008 when the election was held on November 8 and John Key's first Cabinet was sworn in 11 days later so he could jet off to the Apec summit in Peru and on to meetings in London.

Before he was sworn in as Prime Minister, he had signed confidence and supply deals with Act, United Future and the Maori Party, and MPs from those parties were appointed as ministers outside of Cabinet.

Back in 1996, New Zealand First eventually chose National to form a majority coalition Government between two parties.

But since 2002, all other governments have been minority governments. That means that the coalition partners at the Cabinet table, Labour and the Alliance, Labour and the Progressive, then just National, have not had enough support by themselves and have had formal agreements with other parties to pledge their support on confidence and supply.

To be sworn in as prime minister, a party leader has to convince the Governor-General (acting on behalf of the Crown) that he or she would have a majority of votes to win confidence and supply votes when Parliament is reconvened.

The Governor-General will make that decision based on clear public statements from party leaders.

Confidence and supply issues include the Budget, votes that keep the machinery of government running, or votes of great symbolism, such as the vote on the Address in Reply debate in response to the Speech from the Throne that opens each Parliament.

Under the confidence and supply arrangements that have evolved under New Zealand's MMP, support party ministers have to agree only with the ruling party on issues to do with their portfolio. All other votes on legislation is negotiated party by party. That has worked when there has been a large party leading the government and Mr Key has said it would again be his preference.

But Labour leader David Cunliffe has said his preference would be a three-way coalition with the Greens and New Zealand First, meaning they would all be operating under collective Cabinet responsibility.

7.46pm:



Lucy Lawless watches the first results come in at the Green Party election night event in Auckland. Photo / Jason Dorday

7.44pm:


7.42pm:

Supporters are steadily streaming into Labour HQ at the New Lynn Community Centre, in leader David Cunliffe's electorate.

Having voted early in the campaign, Mr Cunliffe had a rare sleep-in this morning.

He then attended his children's Saturday sports. If he was looking for a good omen, he would have been pleased - his son William's water polo team the Ponsonby Sharks won 16-1.

Mr Cunliffe is watching the results at his home in Herne Bay, and is likely to head to the centre with his wife Karen Price and party secretary after 10pm, depending on results.

- Isaac Davison

7.37pm:

It is absolutely neck and neck in one of the key seats to watch in the country.

Port Hills, a Christchurch seat, has the incumbent Ruth Dyson in a dog fight with National's Nuk Korako.

With 16 percent of the vote counted it is anyone's race with both Korako ahead by just 69 votes.

Check out the live results as they come in here.

- Jeremy Rees

7.33pm:

Our last Herald Digipoll before the election had the parties and the leaders performing thus:

7.24pm:

It's hardly a party at the Dotcom Mansion at the Internet Party's election night get-together in downtown Auckland tonight.

About 60 people, including party members and media, have gathered at the Cloud on the Viaduct as the election results begin trickling in.

Party faithful are mulling around two large TV screens, clearly apprehensive as the news turns to Hone Harawira's race for the Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

The mood will no doubt pick up once party founder Kim Dotcom and leader Laila Harre arrive later - and the fully-stocked bar starts to take effect.

Speaking ahead of tonight's event, party chief executive Vikram Kumar said all eyes were on Te Tai Tokerau, where Mr Harawira is expected to have a tight race on his hands against Labour's Kelvin Davis.

Should Mr Harawira fail to retain the seat he has held since 2005, it is unlikely the Internet-Mana Party will gain enough of the party vote to enter Parliament.

"I actually think [Mr Harawira] will win quite comfortably. I'd say it would be somewhat similar to what happened last time in terms of numbers.

"But Kelvin Davis is a very competent and well-liked person so he is capable of creating an upset."

Mr Kumar would not be drawn on how much of the party vote he expected Internet-Mana to attain tonight.

"When you're talking the small percentages ... margins of error start to come into it so it's really hard to know by going on the polls."

- Matthew Theunissen

7.16pm:

Here are the result predictions from our political team. Check them again at the end of the night and see what they got right.

John Armstrong - political commentator
National will win close to half the seats in Parliament. But not enough to govern even with the help of Act, United Future and the Maori Party. Colin Craig's Conservative Party will fail to clear the threshold. New Zealand First will succeed in doing so. Winston Peters will hold the balance of power. Then the fun and games begin.

Audrey Young - political editor
National will be able to govern alone. It won't make 50 per cent but because the Conservatives will fall short of the 5 per cent threshold, their large wasted vote will lower the threshold of what constitutes half of the party vote. Hone Harawira will lose in Te Tai Tokerau, Peter Dunne will lose in Ohariu but Trevor Mallard will just hold on in Hutt South.

Toby Manhire - columnist
A couple of months ago I predicted a policy-dominated campaign, so beware my crystal ball, but what the hell: Conservatives to fall just shy, with NZ First reaping 9 per cent and the balance of power. National 44 per cent, Labour+Green 39 per cent making Nat-NZF far the likeliest deal. And I sense a grim political reaper heading for Peter Dunne.

Fran O'Sullivan - columnist
John Key will be in the box seat to form the next Government but National will not gain enough votes on its own. Labour and the Greens' combined vote will fall way short of National. This leaves Winston Peters the kingmaker. The Conservatives will not make it. Internet Mana will be gone as Maori vote to keep Hone Harawira out.

7.13pm:

Prime Minister John Key's wife Bronagh will join her husband at the National Party election-night event tonight wearing the same desi

- NZ Herald

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