Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon says he can now focus on forming a strong and stable government – and he will be doing it negotiating with Winston Peters.
“Now we can get cracking,” Luxon told reporters at Parliament an hour after the final election result was confirmed with the counting of special votes.
Luxon said he would work through the weekend on coalition negotiations - but he could not guarantee completing those negotiations by the Apec gathering on November 12-13.
Today’s final election results erased National’s one-seat majority with Act on election night - thrusting Peters and NZ First into the role as kingmaker.
“We are working constructively with both parties. We are going to come together and form a strong stable government,” Luxon said.
Peters said NZ First wanted negotiations to be conducted with urgency.
“What can we agree on ... we can’t all get what we want, we have to get a sound much much better government underway,” Peters told the Platform.
The NZ First leader said the most useful thing was for National, Act and NZ First to all get in the room together as opposed to having separate conversations.
“This is not my first negotiation, I’m only negotiating with one side, so to speak, not two and that’s why we can expedite this.”
Act leader David Seymour said he hoped the new government could be finalised within a “matter of days” or within a week.
Meanwhile Te Pāti Māori recorded its best-ever election result taking another two Māori electorate seats off Labour in Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning they won six of the seven electorates.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE LIVE BLOG
Labour leader Chris Hipkins has conceded that a National-Act-NZ First coalition will govern - however Labour may still seek recounts in some close electorates.
Today’s final result brings NZ First into the picture as a potential kingmaker - the party remains on the eight seats it recorded on election night. Together the three parties would have 67 seats, with another seat likely to be added with National’s Andrew Bayly the favourite to win the Port Waikato by-election.
National leader Christopher Luxon has been in negotiating talks with both Act’s David Seymour and NZ First’s Winston Peters in preparation for such a result.
The final results saw Te Pāti Māori gain another two seats compared to election night to record a historic result, their best since 2011 when they won five seats.
Takutai Tarsh Kemp beat Labour’s Peeni Henare by just 4 votes, overturning what was a 495-vote deficit on election night.
In an even more stunning result, Te Pāti Māori’s Mariameno Kapa-Kingi gained a majority of 517 over Labour’s Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau, overturning a 487-vote deficit on election night.
National loses two seats from election night
While National dropped two seats overall it also lost two electorate seats to Labour candidates, meaning veteran MP Gerry Brownlee will just scrape in on the list.
Labour remains on 34 seats, winning 17 electorates and with 17 list MPs.
The Green Party gains one seat to give it its best result, meaning Christchurch-based candidate Kahurangi Carter enters Parliament for the first time.
In other seats, Labour’s Rachel Boyack secured Nelson by just 29 votes after trailing National’s Blair Cameron by 54 votes after the initial count.
Labour’s Phil Twyford, who trailed National’s Angee Nicholas in Te Atatū by just 30 votes, has come out ahead by 131.
All other seats have remained with the candidates who won them on October 14. Vanessa Weenink is confirmed as Banks Peninsula’s MP after leading Labour’s Tracey McLellan by 83 votes on election night.
NZ First leader Winston Peters now holds the balance of power. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour’s Helen White, who only led Mt Albert - a party stronghold - by 106 votes, has cemented her win over National’s Melissa Lee.
The Electoral Commission reported 603,257 people cast special votes equating to just over one-fifth of the just under 2.9 million votes cast – up from 17 per cent in 2017 and 2020.
These include votes cast overseas, by people outside their electorate and anyone who needed to update their details at the time of voting.
The Electoral Commission has had 20 days since election day to tally these, along with updating and processing all enrolments and checking if anyone has voted more than once, and investigating dual votes.
The long time-frame to determine the final results has drawn some criticism, but it also includes a legally required 10 days for special votes to be returned from overseas and 13 days for special votes cast in New Zealand to be returned to their home electorate. It has also been argued to be the cost of making voting easier and more accessible.
Turnout overall was 78.2 per cent of enrolled voters, down on 81.5 per cent in 2020.
However, enrolment overall at 94.7 per cent was the highest since 2008.
There was a large turnout for Māori overall, with 567,012 voters on both the Māori and general rolls, up from 535,472 in 2020 and 476,498 in 2017.
National, Act had one-seat majority on election night
On election night, October 14, the preliminary results delivered a one-seat majority to National and Act, acquiring 50 and 11 seats respectively.
At 61 seats together they made up just over half of the 121 seats in Parliament (on the night there was a predicted a one-seat overhang due to Te Pāti Māori winning more electorate seats than their party vote share).
The reason for the uncertainty about the result on the night is that a record estimated 567,000 people cast special votes - that’s just over 20 per cent of all votes.
Based on a Herald analysis of special votes since 1999, all of the parties that have gained seats in Parliament following the declaration of the official results have been left-leaning. National has lost at least one seat in every election bar one since 1999.
Election law expert Graeme Edgeler previously told the Herald this was because many of those needing to update their details were people who had changed house recently, who were typically younger and often left-leaning.
In 2017, the final vote count saw National’s initial seat allocation reduced by two while Labour and the Greens gained one seat each.
In 2020, once again, special votes leaned left and National had two fewer seats than the election night result predicted.
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