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Live updates - Votes trickling in, Labour has early lead

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Source: Associated Press

Updates from earlier in the evening below:

11:07pm: National's Nick Smith: "National will rebuild and National will be back."

He thanks the people of Nelson for giving him the privilege to represent them. 

11:06pm: Espiner says the close results in some Māori seats tonight shows "not everyone's convinced" about Labour's Māori caucus. She says there's only so much that a Māori MP can achieve within a Pākehā party.

11:03pm: Coffey says: "I'm not ready to concede."

He's trailing Waititi by nearly 300 votes in Waiariki.

But, Coffey says he's counting on the special votes, which delivered about 400 votes for him in the last election. Those results will be returned in the next few weeks.

11:01pm: National's Joseph Mooney wins Southland by a margin of 5000. Perhaps third time lucky for National in the electorate after a spate of recent MP resignations.

11:00pm: Hehir says tonight's historical win for Labour shows a continuation of a trend towards the big parties. 

Hutt South looks to go to Labour's Andersen - Bishop trailing by 1800 votes. 

10:56pm: Labour's David Clark wins Dunedin by more than 13,000 votes, amid a bumpy year.

Tukituki swings from National to Labour - Anna Lorck wins, beating Lawrence Yule by 772 votes.

10:53pm: 90% of the vote counted now

Labour - 48.9% - 64 seats

National - 27% - 35 seats

ACT - 8% - 10 seats

Greens - 7.5% - 10 seats

10:50pm: National's Stuart Smith takes Kaikōura.

Labour's Damien O'Connor wins West-Coast Tasman.

10:45pm: Espiner says it may be easier for Labour to partner with the Māori Party, if it makes it back in Parliament, because they've said they'll be strong advocates in or out of Government.

10:43pm: Ardern says she'll wait for the results to come in before thinking about where the Greens will fit in the next Parliament.

Swarbrick still ahead by nearly 500 votes in Auckland Central with 96.4% of the vote counted.

National's Shane Reti ahead in Whangārei by 222 votes, with 83% of the vote counted.

Waiariki - 300 votes between Waititi and Coffey.

Rangitīkei - 460 votes btween Labour's Soraya Peke-Mason and National's Ian McKelvie. 

10:40pm: With nearly 90% of the votes counted, Labour still looks like it can govern alone. 

Hehir says Ardern's speech went "straight to the centre", rather than talk about left-wing policies.

Popularity can almost be "like a prison", he says.

Espiner says Labour needs to do something transformational with its strong mandate about the topics it says it cares about - like poverty. Otherwise, questions need to be asked, she says.

10:37pm: Still some close seats with less than 500 in between first and second place: Waiariki, Whangārei, Rangitīkei and Auckland Central.

10:33pm: Ardern says governing for everyone is increasingly important because the world was becoming more polarised.

"Tonight's result has been strong, and it is clear that Labour will lead the Government for the next three years."

She says Labour will keep creating decent jobs, address climate challenges, tackle poverty, uild state housing, and take the opportunity to invest in the future and give people hope.

"We have the mandate to accelerate our response, and tomorrow, we start."

10:30pm: Ardern thanks people who voted for Labour, the candidates, supporters and staff. 

Loud cheers from the crowd.

She says Labour has won votes from both rural and urban communities, and won seats it wasn't expecting.

She repeats Robertson's line, reflecting on the large support from people who don't usually vote Labour: "We will be a party that governs for everyone."

10:29pm: Ardern speaking to supporters now at Labour's election night HQ.

10:27pm: Swarbrick still ahead in Auckland Central with 95% of the votes counted. She's winning by a margin of just under 500. 

Waititi ahead with a margin of 160 in Waiariki with 86% of the vote counted. 

10:23pm: Deputy leader Kelvin Davis speaking at Labour HQ now.

He's taken a storybook narrative approach to his speech - it rhymes. He's taken aim at Collins approach on the campaign trail and says Labour has maintained a "world of light" against National.

10:22pm: Robertson says the next Government will tackle inequality and climate change as it rebuilds from Covid-19. 

"I'm incredibly humbled by the support."

He says they've got to govern for "all New Zealanders" because there are many who are voting Labour for the first time.

10:20pm: 80% of the vote counted now

Labour - 48.9% - they can govern alone on these numbers, with 64 seats.

National - 27% - 35 seats

ACT - 8.1% - 10 seats

Green - 7.5% - 10 seats

10:16pm: Kaye says Ardern is a "global phenomenon".

Progress and delivery will be key for Ardern in her next term, Kaye says.

Labour may be "hostage to their majority", Godfrey says.

But he says the alternative view is that Labour now has the mandate to act on welfare and public housing. But, it may come down to the Greens and the Māori Party whether they'll swing further left or not. 

10:12pm: Ardern outside the Auckland Town Hall now at Labour HQ.

National stalwart Smith loses Nelson - Rachel Boyack wins by 3500 after 100% of the votes counted.

10:07pm: "We will take time to reflect, and we will review, and we will change. National will re-emerge from this loss a stronger, disciplined and more connnected party," Collins says.

She apologises to MPs who didn't plan to leave tonight. She promises they'll be back in 2023, stronger.

"We will hold the Government to account," she says, promising a strong Opposition.

She says she phoned Ardern to congratulate her before speaking tonight - she has conceded defeat.

"New Zealand is in for a tough economic ride."

10:05pm: "Thank you for picking up the load," Collins says, thanking her family.

She says her party will spend the next three years "repaying that trust" to those who voted National this time. 

She thanks Brownlee: "We had to work very quickly and with confidence ... thank you for always backing me."

She thanks National MPs for their support of her as their leader and for their work during the "gruelling and long campaign".

"You will be missed." Collins says to departing MPs.

"You have contributed to New Zealand and to a team that has the most comprehensive policy platform of any Opposition I have seen."

10:00pm: Collins speaking now. Her eyes are slightly teary.

Crowd chanting "Judith" as she walks in. She greets a number of MPs, including Goldsmith and Melissa Lee, on the way in.

She thanks supporters, and says they've kept the faith despite what they knew was going to be a tough campaign.

9:56pm: About two-thirds of the party vote counted now.

Labour - 49.2% - 65 seats

National - 26.8% - 41 seats

Greens - 7.7% - 10 seats

ACT - 8.0% - 10 seats

NZ First - 2.5% - no seats

National needs to retain its young talent like Megan Hands, Tania Tapsell and Emma Mellow, Kaye says.

9:54pm: Collins still on the way to the Royal NZ yacht squadron.

Labour's Jo Luxton has won Rangitata, leading by 3400 votes against second-place Megan Hands - first electorate announced of the night. It was previously held by National's Andrew Falloon.

9:50pm: Swarbrick says campaigning works, and tonight shows it. She's leading by 460 votes ahead of Labour's Helen White with 82% of the votes counted in Auckland Central.

"We can't take anything for granted," Swarbrick says of special votes. 

9:48pm: On these numbers, Labour would pull in 45 electorate seats (16 more than in the last Parliament) and National would be on 24 - (16 less than the last Parliament).

Labour's Kiri Allan says she's worked hard to get the East Coast seat back from National. 

She's leading by 4400 after 60% of votes were counted. 

Godfrey is predicting a great future for Allan. He says she's being rewarded for playing a genuine part in her community.

9:46pm: On current numbers, a number of high-profile National MPs may not return to Parliament, including Nicola Willis, Melissa Lee, Nick Smith, Alfred Ngaro, Harete Hipango, Brett Hudson and Jo Hayes. 

9:42pm: Waiariki right down to the wire - currently about 40 seats separating Waititi and Coffey.

Coffey says he'll see what happens, and there's always room to ask whether he could've done more.

The party vote now with nearly 60% counted:

Labour - 49.4% - 65 seats

National - 26.7% - 41 seats

ACT - 8% - 10 seats

Greens - 7.7% - 10 seats

NZ First - 2.5% - no seats

Māori Party - 1% - no seats, unless it wins an electorate

Some new faces, too, for the Greens on these numbers, including Teanau Tuiono - a veteran activist who has worked in the UN, Elizabeth Kerekere - founder and chair of Tīwhanawhana Trust and LGBT+ advocate, and Auckland Action Against Poverty's Ricardo Menéndez March. 

March is right on the cusp of getting in.

9:37pm: Ōhāriu not as tight a race as expected - Labour's Greg O'Connor is leading by nearly 8500 with 48% of the votes counted. In 2017, just 1000 votes separated the Labour and National candidate after the retirement of United Future's Peter Dunne.

9:35pm: A quick reminder we're not expecting the results of either referendum tonight. Preliminary results for those won't come out until October 30. 

9:32pm: Judith Collins is about to leave her Auckland hotel to head to National's HQ.

Not many frontbenchers at the HQ tonight - just Paul Goldsmith. 

9:28pm: More than 50% of the votes counted now

Labour - 49.7% - 65 seats

National - 26.5% - 41 seats

Greens - 7.9% - 10 seats

ACT - 7.9% - 10 seats

NZ First - 2.4% - no seats

"Labour is almost like the conservative party" this time around after a tumultuous year for National, says Hehir. 

Espiner says the left have used Ardern's popularity and the Government's successful Covid-19 response - which was why they were doing well tonight.

9:25pm: To the bellwether seats of Hamilton East and Hamilton West now. Both Labour candidates in each are leading.

Hamilton East - Labour's Jamie Strange (currently a list MP based in Waikato) looks to snatch the electorate. He's ahead by more than 2000 over incumbent David Bennett from National with nearly half the votes counted. It's been a blue seat for a while. 

Hamilton West - Labour's Gaurav Sharma 3600 votes ahead over sitting National MP Tim Macindoe, with nearly half the votes counted.

9:21pm: Peters says NZ First has always challenged authority, and "that force is still needed".

"We'll all have to wait and see" what the next challenge is, he says.

He's not saying goodbye outright at any time in his short speech. 

9:19pm: NZ First leader Winston Peters now.

He congratulates those who were successful tonight, and wishes them well.

9:18pm: Labour's Grant Robertson addressing supporters now.

He's thanking supporters and staff.

He says Labour has shown it can get the country through Covid-19 and the economic shock.

"We've got a plan," he says, to fix climate change and inequality. 

9:14pm: Former Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon ahead in the National stronghold of Botany. He's not ruled out one day putting his hat in the ring for the National Party leadership.

9:12pm: National's Nick Smith behind by 3700 votes in Nelson, with 70% of the vote counted.

About 400 votes still separate Greens' Swarbrick and Labour's White in Auckland Central. Swarbrick still ahead. More than 60% of the vote there counted now.

National's Bishop 500 votes behind in Hutt South against Labour's Andersen.

Labour's Coffey ahead of Māori Party's Waititi by only 50 votes in Waiariki, with more than 40% of the vote counted.

9:11pm: Kaye says Ardern's approval shot up during the pandemic, and she got continuous air time, while National's polling went down.

Godfrey says Ardern used her airtime well. 

9:08pm: Kaye says National still has some ministerial experience onboard, despite senior members like herself, Paula Bennett, and potentially Brownlee not returning.

Labour is at 50.2% of the party vote. National is on 26.1% - 41.4% of the votes counted now.

Godfrey says tonight's results are disastrous for the right-wing block, not just the National Party. 

9:04pm: National's Brownlee now:

"I really don't have a single answer for that," he says of the results going towards Labour. 

"I probably haven't campaigned as much ... it is what it is."

Kaye says Brownlee has done a lot of "heavy lifting" for the party, and acknowledges his work.

9:02pm: Paula Bennett's old seat in Upper Harbour is looking like it will go to Labour - Vanushi Walters leading by about 1200 after 55% of votes counted.

National's Dan Bidois, the sitting MP in Northcote, may lose his seat. Labour's Shanan Halbert leading by 1100 votes at the moment with more than 47% of votes counted.

9:00pm: Northland seat switching between Labour's Willow-Jean Prime and National's Matt King all night - about 13% of votes counted. Jones still third.

8:59pm: National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee looks to lose his Ilam seat for the first time ever - he's held it since 1996 when it was created.

He's trailing 2300 votes after Labour's Sarah Pallett. About 29% of the votes in the electorate have been counted.

8:56pm: Kaye says there's time to review after tonight, but the National Party won't be doing that today.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson addresses supporters at her HQ now. She starts by praising Ardern and Labour.

She says tonight's results shows people want a progressive Government.

Not much change in the party votes with 38% counted - Labour still hovering around 50%, National at 26%, Greens at 8.1%, ACT at 7.7%. We'll have those percentages broken down into seat numbers as more results come in.

8:54pm: The Greens are "absolutely stoked", co-leader James Shaw says.

He says there's an exciting race ahead in Auckland Central - Swarbrick is about 400 votes ahead with 35% of votes counted.

8:53pm: Some "soul-searching" ahead for National after today, Bridges says.

He says the campaign from National has lacked direction this time around, but that tonight's results aren't as bad as 2002.

8:50pm: "It's grim," National's Simon Bridges says of tonight's result.

He says he won't get into thinking about what may have happened if he stayed on as leader.

He says he predicts "a massive majority for Labour" which will give them "a mandate, really, to do whatever they want". Bridges goes on to say it'll be hard for National and ACT to hold them to account with their "lack of numbers". 

Bridges praises Ardern.

8:46pm: NZ First's Shane Jones now - he's still third in Northland with 13% of the vote counted.

He says tonight's result is only the result of "the fruit of democracy".

Jones says he's delivered for the provinces, as he's promised. 

"One of the added benefits ... of the Government that's coming to an end has been, quite frankly, the injection of determination."

8:41pm: Labour steady at more than 50% of the party vote after about 35% of votes counted.

8:39pm: Māori Party co-leader Ngarewa-Packer says tonight's results shows the party is coming back, and that they're wanted.

"We've had such a long way to come from ... 2020 is the beginning," she says.

She says she's still hopeful, with her party's candidates currently second in Tāmaki Makaurau, Waiariki and Te Tai Tonga.

8:38pm: National's Bishop now:

He thinks it's still a tight race in Hutt South. 

Bishop says he really feels for National MPs who may lose their jobs tonight, but the night is still young.

"Disappointing night for the National Party."

8:34pm Māori Party's Ngarewa-Packer 541 behind Labour's Rurawhe in Te Tai Hauāuru with 27% of the vote counted.

Espiner says tonight's results looks like a "genuine rejuvenation" of the Māori Party in the Māori seats, but her money is still on Labour retaining all seven.

8:33pm: Waiariki - Labour's Tamati Coffey leading now by about 200 votes, with 15% of the vote counted. Waititi second.

8:27pm: Tāmaki Makaurau - Labour's Peeni Henare leading by 500 votes, followed by Māori Party's John Tamihere.

Hutt South still looking red - Labour's Ginny Andersen ahead by 530 over sitting MP National's Chris Bishop. About 28% of the votes counted there now.

8:22pm: Andrew Falloon's old seat Rangitata leaning towards Labour's Jo Luxton now - she's leading more than 4000 votes over National's Megan Hands. More than 42% counted now.

Labour's Kieran McAnulty looks to steal the Wairarapa seat from National with 42% of votes counted. He's ahead by nearly 5500.

8:16pm: Seymour says his new team in Parliament will bring a wealth of outside experience because they come from all walks of life.

Only 166 votes between Labour's Ginny Andersen and incumbent National's Chris Bishop. Andersen is leading.

In East Coast, Labour's Kiri Allan ahead by about 2000, taking safe National seat from retiring National MP Anne Tolley. National's Tania Tapsell 2600 votes behind. More than a fifth of votes counted now.

8:14pm: So far, more than one million advanced votes have been counted - 53.7% of all advanced votes.

Hehir isn't ruling out NZ First leader Winston Peters yet, despite his age, and says he may make a comeback in a few years if he doesn't make it back to Parliament off the back of tonight's results.

8:12pm: About 24% of the vote counted now.  

Labour - 50.5%

National - 25.9%

Greens - 8.2%

ACT - 7.6%

NZ First - 2.3%

New Conservative - 1.5%

The Opportunities Party - 1.4%

Māori - 0.9%

8:09pm: Claire Szabó, Labour's president, says the results so far is "encouraging" but the night is still young.

She says part of Labour's rise is because of leader Jacinda Ardern, but the whole team has played a role, too.

8:05pm: Tariana Turia, former Māori Party MP, says tangata whenua deserve better, and she's hopeful Māori are starting to believe in themselves again.

Te Tai Hauāuru close at the moment - Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is just under 300 behind Labour's Adrian Rurawhe.

8:01pm: Tukituki turning to Labour at the moment - Anna Lorck ahead of National's Lawrence Yule with 25% of votes counted. It's expected to be a tight race for the electorate.

National stronghold Taranaki-King Country also turning red - Labour's Angela Roberts ahead of National's Barbara Kuriger - with about 21% of votes counted. 

8:00pm: Labour's Ginny Andersen ahead in Hutt South at the moment, sitting National MP Chris Bishop second with 10% of the vote counted. Bishop narrowly won the seat in 2017.

7:58pm: Here's National Party president Peter Goodfellow.

"It's very early in advance voting so far," he says.

"It wouldn't be good to be in the 20s."

Goodfellow says Seymour has made an impact in the "Covid campaign".

National sitting at 25% at the moment with about 18.5% of the votes counted.

7:54pm: Nick Smith, National MP, still behind in Nelson with about 50% of the vote counted. Labour's Rachel Boyack ahead by about 4000 votes.

Smith has held Nelson since 1996.

7:52pm: Political commentators Liam Hehir (lawyer and National Party member) and Emma Espiner (Newsroom columnist and medical student) joining the panel now.

Swarbrick still ahead in Auckland Central at about 31% of the votes counted.

She says she's been "doing everything" she can to get people out and voting. Labour's Helen White about 400 votes behind. 

7:50pm: ACT MPs have joined Seymour on stage. He says they'll be asking the "hard questions" and proposing new ideas once they're in Parliament.

"As the world has changed, our small island National has changed with it," he says.

Some new faces from the party: Brooke van Velden at #2 - known for her work in the euthanasia referendum, Nicole McKee - a gun advocate, and Chris Baillie - who has come under fire recently after it was revealed he led a 'Climate Hysteria Skeptics' group at a school he taught at.

7:46pm: ACT leader David Seymour arriving now on a boat. 

Early voting results sees him return to Parliament with 10 seats. 

7:44pm: The latest from Auckland Central. 

Greens' Chlöe Swarbrick is still ahead at the moment, with 26% of the votes counted.

But Labour's Helen White is less than 400 votes behind in second place.

7:41pm: From the Electoral Commission:

"Our targets for the release of the preliminary general election results are: 10:00pm results from 50% of voting places, 11:30pm results from 95% of voting places."

7:40pm: We've hit over 10% of votes counted now.

Labour - 50.1%

National - 26.1%

Greens - 8.1%

ACT - 7.7%

"If this holds up, it is a large swing," Kaye says.

7:35pm: Labour leading in all the Māori seats at the moment, apart from Waiariki where the Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi is leading. But it's early days.

"It would be huge and unexpected" if the Māori party get back in, Godfrey says.

7:31pm: About 7.7% of votes counted now.

Labour still ahead - 49.9%

National - 26.1%

7:27pm: Let's go to some of the marginal seats now. 

Chlöe Swarbrick is ahead at the moment in Auckland Central, with 10.7% of the votes counted.

Kaye says it's early days, and boosts may come for National when the rural votes come in, then another swing will go towards the left later in the night.

National's Nick Smith in a bit of trouble - he's behind Labour's Rachel Boyack in Nelson - with 38.8% counted. Smith's held Nelson since 1996.

7:24pm: Reporter Kim Baker Wilson, at ACT's HQ, says the party's had a "quirky" campaign. But, the party says it wants to listen to voters and deliver on what they want.

Reporter Katie Bradford is at NZ First's HQ. Media are banned from going inside until after 8pm - and we've not been told why. 

NZ First is hoping for their votes to come in today, she says.

7:21pm: Check out full results from tonight on our website here.

7:20pm: About 3.9% of the results in now. Some change.

Labour - 50.4%

National - 26.3%

Greens - 8.6%

ACT - 7.5%

NZ First - 2.2%

New Conservative - 1.4%

The Opportunities Party - 1.3%

Māori - 0.6%

7:17pm: Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford has emerged from his house with fish sliders and venison bites for those gathered outside their home in Sandringham. 

Gayford says the previous 2017 election had been such a blur compared to this one, and he's feeling a sense of relief at the moment. He says the day has been relaxed so far.

7:16pm: Godfrey says he's not surprised by the Greens' results. He says the Greens may be gaining votes from traditional Labour voters.

7:13pm: About 4.5 per cent of results in now.

Labour at 49.8%, National at 26.7%, Greens on 8.8%, ACT on 7.5% and NZ First at 2.2%.

7:11pm: 1 NEWS reporter Maiki Sherman is at National Party HQ. She says it's quiet at the moment as they wait for results. 

7:09pm: "It's very early in the night," says outgoing National MP Nikki Kaye.

Māori research partnerships manager and political commentator Morgan Godfrey also joins Kaye as a panellist with us tonight.

7:08pm: A quick reminder we're not expecting the results of either referendum tonight. Preliminary results for those won't come out until October 30, and the final results on November 6.

About 2 per cent of the votes have been counted - we'll bring you those results as more ballots get counted.

7:04pm: 1 NEWS Political Editor Jessica Mutch McKay is at Labour HQ tonight in the Auckland Town Hall.

Labour are probably feeling a "quiet confidence", she says, but it'll be keeping an eye out to see whether Labour will need the Greens to form a Government.

7:00pm: The polling booths have closed, and election day restrictions have lifted. 

We're crossing live now to John Campbell and Hilary Barry. Watch live from New Zealand and abroad using the links above.

6:45pm: Fifteen more minutes to go now. 

Here's what's coming up tonight on 1 NEWS:

6:35pm: With election rules preventing the publishing of material today that could influence someone's vote, including on social media, many showed off their furry friends instead.

Here's Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher: 

Three here from Ben Taylor:

6:22pm: Advance voting numbers have reached record highs this year - nearly 2 million were cast between the start of the advanced voting period on October 3 to the end of yesterday.

That means approximately 57 per cent of the nearly 3.5 million people enrolled to vote cast their vote before today.

The counting of the advanced votes began at 9am, so expect those to come early in the night. 

6:10pm: John Campbell, Hilary Barry and Simon Dallow are in the studio taking us through tonight's results from 7pm.

The 1 NEWS political team, led by Jessica Mutch McKay, will cross live from party bases around the country, providing expert analysis as the results come in.

6:00pm: Welcome to 1 NEWS’ live updates for election night 2020. Keep across results and analysis as it happens throughout the night on TVNZ1, TVNZ Ondemand, 1NEWS.co.nz and on 1 NEWS FacebookYoutube and Twitter.

We’ll also be back tomorrow morning from 8am on TVNZ1’s Q+A and streaming on 1 NEWS’ pages from 8am with a two-hour special discussing the election’s big winners and losers. 

Tagata Pasifika will also be on at 7.30am and, from 10am, Marae will focus on what the election results mean for Māori.