New Zealand's future, for the next three years at least, could be a little clearer in the next few hours. Stick here for live updates throughout the night as the results come in from around the country. The ONE News team will be providing top level analysis and reaction from party HQs.
Haka greets John Key
Source: 1 NEWS
12am:And that's that. National remain the Government for another three years, John Key the Prime Minister. Hone Harawira and Colin Craig miss out on a seat, and the soul searching begins again for Labour.
The final scores (before special votes are counted):
National holds on to its 48% share of the party vote, Labour gets 24.69%, the Geens get to 10.02% and NZ First manage 8.85%
That gives National 61 seats, then add on two from the Maori Party, and one each from Act and United Future and it's a comofrtable majority in the 121 seat Parliament.
Labour, the Greens and NZ First together managed 56 seats.
11.44pm:"I could just feel it day after day that New Zealanders wanted to own their election," Mr Key says.
He admits he was a bit nervous about the result with the distractions of Dirty Politics and spying dominating the news agenda:
"The purpose of those things is to throw mud, and when you throw mud some of it sticks, so, I was a bit nervous but I did all I could to get out from under it and talk about the economy, law and order, health, education and the environment but it wasn't easy."
He says they will have to be careful, having a majority in the house, but they will be keen to push through Resource Management Act reform and Employment Law reform.
"One of the worse things you can do is let this go to your head because all of a sudden the voters will react very badly. Third term Governments always have to work hard to prove they're not out of touch and arrogant."
11.30pm:The PM descends the stairs in the venue, his son Max on his right, his wife Bronagh on his left and deputy Bill English following behind. There's confetti, music, baloons.
"Three more years!" he says, the crowd chant back "Three more years, three more years!"
11.24pm:Prime Minister John Key arrives on Auckland's Viaduct, the guest of honour at National's election party. There are screams from inside the building as they watch him arrive on TV.
"My plan is to talk to the political parties I prefer to work with, that's Act, United Future and the Maori Party," he says. "That's the logical grouping... and I think we'll have enough on those numbers."
We're at 99.7% vote counted.
11.15pm:Laila Harre thinks Kim Dotcom has made an enormous contribution: "I think his speech tonight (see 10.50pm) was humble and he has been a lightening rod for opponents of Internet-Mana, but he has also allowed this movement to happen and he deserves some credit."
11.05pm:"It's a great night," Prime Minister-elect John Key says. "I think people could see the country was going in the right direction and they've rewarded us."
He's greeted by a fearsome haka at his front gate but he can barely keep the smile from his face. He's off to party at National Party HQ, where a cheeky glass of something may well be in order.
Cunliffe says he will stay on as leader and lead change. But will still have to go through a leadership vote.Katie Bradford (@katieabradford) September 20, 2014
10.50pm:Kim Dotcom has taken responsibility for Internet-Mana's failure tonight, and apologised to Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.
"We lost because of me," he says to a chorus of "no!" from his followers. "The brand Kim Dotcom was poison to what we trying to achieve, and I did not see that before and it only became apparent to me in the past couple of weeks."
10.48pm:Labour leader David Cunliffe takes to the stage in New Lynn. The crowd still give him the rock star treatment despite having to concede, and he can still muster a smile for the faithful.
"You should all be very proud," he tells them. "You are incredible, you are courageous, you are Labour!
"I've called on John Key and congratulated him and I've acknowledged he will continue to tbe the Prime Minister of New Zealand at this time."
10.36pm:"It doesn't finish!" Internet Party leader Laila Harre tells the disappointed followers on Auckland's waterfront. She says the people of Te Tai Tokerau have lost the "strongest fighter they have had in a generation in Parliament". Hone Harawira trails by 1,133 in the electorate with 95% of votes counted.
Dotcom joins internet party supporters as Laila concedes political bid has failedpic.twitter.com/7aQ89lElALnicole bremner (@nicole_bremner) September 20, 2014
10.33pm:Greens co-leader Russel Norman says his party has held their own "against a right-wing swing". They were looking for 15% party vote, and have around 10%. He says it was a tumultuous campaign with the Dirty Politics saga and Kim Dotcom's influence on the news agenda making it hard for issues to be highlighted.
10.28pm:Napier is the only electorate set to change hands, outside of the Maori electorates and the new electorates. Labour's Stuart Nash has taken it with a majority of 3,733. The seat used to be held by National's Chris Tremain, but he announced last year he would not be standing this time.
10.20pm:Act MP David Seymour is claiming Epsom, he's got a 4,341 lead with 88.7% of the vote counted. He has a very snazzy shirt in party colours, presumably tailor-made for this occassion.
"My campaign was to be the best possible candidate for Epsom and provide centre right Government in Wellington."
10.15pm:Quite a few confirmed results coming in now, the vote counters are absolutely steaming through the ballot papers. A final result won't be far off. Check out out handy graphics for details:http://tvnz.co.nz/vote-2014/results
10.12pm: A weary looking Hone Harawira is not prepared to concede Te Tai Tokerau yet, not until all the votes have been counted. "It's not a case of clinging on for grim death. I just see no reason to concede right now." With 90% of votes counted he trails Kelvin Davis by 1,000 votes.
10pm:NZ First Leader Winston Peters takes to the stage at party HQ in Auckland. The party has 11 seats with 90% of the vote counted, so you would have thought he would be pretty up beat...? Wrong.
"This was without reason an early election but nevertheless enough voters saw we suffer from a two tier economy, Auckland, Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand," he says.
"We are not living in a rock star economy indeed this is a very uncertain time for anyone contemplating the next three years in Government.
"Despite tonight's result the great majority of New Zealanders will see we can't go on as we have."
9.56pm:Sounds like National has the best party in town at the moment, although things could be picking up soon at Labour HQ:
9.43pm: ONE News predicts:47.16% for National, giving them 60 seats in the 121 seat Parliament, then add on one each from Act and United Future and it will give them the numbers to govern. A couple of seats from the Maori Party and they could have a comforatble majority.
The results so far are almost like John Key is sitting at home writing out the outcome himselfKatie Bradford (@katieabradford) September 20, 2014
9.34pm:Labour lead in five out of the six Maori electorates. The exception is Waiariki where Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell has the lead with 72.7% of votes counted. His party currently have 1.25% party vote, so they might need a few more votes to get extra MPs.
9.30pm:Hiring out the Cloud on Auckland's waterfront can't be cheap, and the food at the Internet Party event has also barely been touched as the supporters face possible defeat. With Hone Harawira trailing in Te Tai Tokerau, they might not get over the line after all. Internet Party leader Laila Harre will not be going to the party until the Tai Tokerau result is known.
9.25pm:There could be some high-profile casualties from the Labour list as things stand. With 54% of the vote counted, Labour can expect 30 seats in the next Parliament, but with the party set to win 27 electorate seats, it means only three from the list will be allowed to join them. That means Sue Moroney and Andrew Little wouldn't make it at nine and 10 on the list.
9.14pm: Labour's Kelvin Davis takes the lead in Te Tai Tokerau. His lead is growing too, he's got a 177 vote advantage over Hone Harawira with 50.5% of the votes counted. If Mr Harawira doesn't win his seat, Internet-Mana will not be in the next Parliament.
9.03pm:Conservative leader Colin Craig is pretty much calling it, he admits it's a big ask for his party to get over the 5% threshold. They are currently on 4.3%.
"Five percent's looking a long way off, we'll see how we go," he says. "It's always been a long term game and we're not even three years old yet as a party."
8.55pm:There's some pretty close races going on out there: Nikki Kaye has just a 418 vote lead in Auckland Central (with a third of votes counted); Just 62 votes seperate National's Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Labour's Carol Beaumont in Maungakiekie (32.1% counted) and in Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira has just an 86 vote advantage of Kelvin Davis (36.1% counted). Labour's Trevor Mallard is also clinging on to Hutt South with a 330 vote lead (23.7% counted).
8.42pm:Hone Harawira's feeling "at peace" at home as the results come in, although he still seems frustrated at "National, Labour, New Zealand First and the Maori Party" who he says all tried to encourage voters to back his opponent and push him out of Parliament.
"John Key you either stand in the tai tokerau or shut your mouth!" he says.
He's just 215 votes ahead with 27.7% of the vote counted.
8.30pm:National's campaign manager Steven Joyce isn't "counting his chickens" just yet, but will say with some confidence that National will be the biggest party in the next Parliament. Meanwhile, Paula Bennett is "a bit apprehensive" about the National Party vote. She's so nervous she might not be able to tuck into the tacos and sliders on offer at the National Party HQ.
8.20pm:David Cunliffe is currently 807 votes ahead of Nationals Tim Groser after 20.8% of the vote counted in the New Lynn electorate. At the 2011 election, Mr Cunliffe had a majority over Mr Groser of 5,190.
8.16pm:Tense scenes in Ohariu as United Future's Peter Dunne watches the results come in. He has a 485 vote lead over Labour's Virginia Andersen with almost a quarter of the vote counted.
Dunne has arrived to his own party. He is "confident" but not calling it just yet. A few hundred votes in itpic.twitter.com/wAU6cdmWBbJehan Casinader (@jehancasinader) September 20, 2014
8.05pm:The party's not quite underway for the Labour supporters at the New Lynn Community Centre. Always a wise idea to pace yourself though, if it's going to be a long night:
Labour supporters mingling and watching the results at New Lynn Community Centrepic.twitter.com/K3XClz0s1YKatie Bradford (@katieabradford) September 20, 2014
7.52pm:Let's have a quick look around some of the key individual electorates:
National's Nikki Kaye is in the lead in Auckland Central, 19.3% of the vote counted and she has a 281 vote lead.
Labour's Stuart Nash has a 1,283 vote margin in Napier with 13.1% of votes counted.
Act's David Seymour in the lead in Epsom, 1,449 votes ahead of Paul Goldsmith with 20.8% of the votes counted.
Hone Harawira in the lead in Te Tai Tokerau, he's 328 votes ahead of Kelvin Davis with 15.8% of the vote counted.
And in Ohariu, Peter Dunne has a 503 vote advantage with 21.3% of the vote counted.
7.39pm:With about 15% of the vote counted, The Greens and NZ First are almost neck and neck on party vote with 9.9 and 9.2% respectively. And on current numbers the Conservatives are falling short of the 5% they need to into Parliament, with 4.4%.
7.32pm:The votes we're seeing coming now are all advance votes. After 8.30pm the results from the votes cast today will start coming in too. There were 717,579 advance votes cast this election.
7.28pm:Not to be outdone, National's John Key is out to feed reporters too - he's got some pizza for them! He says he's quite nervous. He's got Bill English, his sister and some of his son's friends watching the results come in tonight.
7.22pm:The waiting media outside David Cunliffe's home are being treated to a bit of grub. The Labour Leader has popped out with sausages, "and for the really discerning" steaks and chops (!) to keep them sustained through the night! He says it's pretty relaxed at home, he's been chilling out, "had a bit of a snooze", and it's up to the public to decide his fate tonight.
Its not guess who's coming to dinner. Its look who's bringing dinnerpic.twitter.com/xrMUps5EDxMelissa Stokes (@melissa_stokes) September 20, 2014
7.19pm: Catering update: The hangi for the Maori Party looks pretty decent too:
7.16pm:These early results tend to come from the smaller electorates where there are fewer votes to count, so not easy to read too much into them, says former Labour Party president Mike Williams.
7.13pm:Epsom: Act's David Seymour takes the lead with 3.8% of the vote counted. Meanwhile, Labour's Kelvin Davis has a narrow margin in Te Tai Tokerau with 3.5% counted.
7.10pm:First look at the results coming in, with 3% of votes counted National are leading with 51% of the party vote, Labour 23%, NZ First 9% and the Greens 9%. Still a lot of votes to count though!
7.05pm:The ONE News team at the Greens' result party reports it must have one of the healthiest menus on offer tonight. Predictably it's vegan with gluten free options.
Supporters can feast on potato, coconut and silver beet samosas, dahl and poppadoms, Vietnamese spring rolls, bread and dips and fruit platters.
7pm:That's it, the polls have closed. Now, we wait. We should have quite a lot of results in quite early with more than 700,000 people taking the opportunity to vote in advance this time.
And, as the flow of results becomes a stream, there could be some potentially interesting results to keep an eye on:
Te Tai Tokerau- Hone Harawira v Kelvin Davis. Mr Harawira had claimed there was a move by the Maori Party to encourage its followers to vote for Labour's Mr Davis and therefore see him ousted from his seat. This, of course, would be bad news for the Internet Mana alliance who would potentially end up out of Parliament.
Auckland Central- In previous years it had been billed as the 'Battle of the Babes', with National's Nikki Kaye v Labour's Jacinda Ardern. It could be another close contest.
Napier- Can former Labour MP Stuart Nash win it back from National? Or will Garth McVicar take it out for the Conservatives.
Hutt South- John Key said Labour's Trevor Mallard was in trouble here. National's candidate is Chris Bishop.
Epsom- Act's spitirual home, will voters back the party again to help prop up a National government, or have they tired of the controversy?
Ohariu- United Future's Peter Dunne's big hope of a return to Parliament. A victory for him again would also help a National-led government.
Helensville and New Lynn- National leader John Key and Labour's David Cunliffe electorates respectively.
Christchurch Central- National's Nicky Wagner won it from Labour by just a handful of votes in 2011.