Jacinda Ardern has secured Labour its greatest support in at least 50 years, with her party winning last night’s election in a landslide.
Labour has scooped up 49 per cent of the vote, which translates to 64 seats in Parliament and makes them the first party to be able to govern alone since MMP was introduced in 1996.
National, meanwhile, is sitting on just 26.9% support (35 seats), while ACT is at 8 per cent (10 seats) and the Greens are on 7.6% (10 seats).
The Māori Party is also returning to parliament after Rawiri Waititi ousted Labour’s Tamati Coffey in Waiariki.
NZ First, however, has missed out, failing to win an electorate or meet the 5 per cent threshold.
The Labour tide swept through New Zealand all night, with many National strongholds flipping red, most notably Nelson and Ilam which National party stalwarts Nick Smith and Gerry Brownlee had held for nearly 25 years.
Ardern addressed an ecstatic crowd at the Auckland Town Hall following the victory, saying Labour now had a mandate to accelerate the country’s recovery, with support for the party coming from both urban and rural areas. You can watch her full speech here – and you can see how your electorate voted here.
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Horror night for Nats
"We always knew it was going to be tough, didn’t we?" said National leader Judith Collins as she addressed her party faithful in Auckland last night.
And tough it was. Last night’s results mean National’s number of MPs in Parliament is down to just 35 with only nine candidates coming in off the list.
Collins hinted that she plans to stay on as leader and promised, “National will re-emerge a stronger, disciplined and more connected party.”
Newsroom reports Collins chose not to mix with the assembled crowd at National HQ last night and avoided speaking to waiting media.
Earlier in the night, former leader Simon Bridges gave a blunt appraisal of his party’s showing.
"It’s grim. I can’t think of a worse night except for possibly 2002,” he said.
He wouldn’t be drawn on whether National would have fared better under his leadership. The Herald reports he’s “not interested” in another run as leader.
What now for Winston?
As the polls long predicted, NZ First was knocked out of Parliament last night, potentially ending Winston Peters’ 42-year political career. But his intentions remained unclear as he addressed a small crowd at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell.
Peters thanked his voters, staff and volunteers in his speech before finishing with a big smile and a “wait and see” message. He also chose to give waiting media the slip.
Greens and ACT jubilant
They might sit on opposite sides of the political divide, but the Green and ACT parties both had reasons to celebrate last night.
Labour might not need the Greens to govern, but party co-leader Marama Davidson was still hailing an “incredible shift in progressive politics”. They’re the first minor party under MMP to survive government and win more than 5 per cent of the vote again.
The Greens also won an electorate seat for the first time since 1999 with Chlöe Swarbrick taking the Auckland Central seat vacated by Nikki Kaye.
“This is the campaign we always dreamed of,” Swarbrick told 1 NEWS early on.
And ACT leader David Seymour will now welcome some friends to Parliament after securing nine more seats this time around. (You can find a refresher on who those friends are here.) Seymour arrived at his party’s event by speedboat last night before delivering a triumphant speech.
But Stuff reports there may be some tough times ahead for Seymour following his election night success. They quote former UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne as saying a caucus of untested first-time MPs will be a hard road to navigate.
The return of the Māori Party
The Māori Party is set to make remarkable return from the political wilderness with Rawiri Waititi winning the Waiariki electorate over Tamati Coffey.
Even before the final results were in, party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer told 1 NEWS “2020 is the beginning for us”, while John Tamihere called his party’s return an “incredible outcome”.
"This is rewriting the political history of our country," he said.
However, Coffey isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. He says he’s waiting on the special votes before conceding defeat in Waiariki.
Electorate seats deliver surprises
While the polls had predicted a significant victory for Labour, there were still some surprises for the party as the results came through, including those heavy defeats handed to National’s Nick Smith and Gerry Brownlee.
- Rangitata may have been the country’s most right-leaning electorate according to TVNZ’s Vote Compass, but Labour’s Jo Luxton swept to victory in the seat formerly held by disgraced MP Andrew Falloon.
- Labour candidate Kieran McAnulty was victorious in the Wairarapa electorate, a seat Labour had failed to win for some time.
- After a close contest for much of the night, Ginny Andersen won in Hutt South, taking the traditional Labour seat back from National’s Chris Bishop.
- But while Kiwis may have had their say on the two referendums now, those provisional results will not be revealed until the end of the month.
No election coverage is complete without some mention of the food that got passed around at party events as the results came in.
Jacinda Ardern’s fiancé Clarke Gayford was happy to wander out of his Auckland home to dole out fish sliders and venison to waiting media, which were gratefully received by 1 NEWS’s Wendy Petrie.
By all accounts, the kai on offer at John Tamihere’s party in Te Atatū was also top notch, with The Spinoff reporting a feast of oysters, raw fish, kina, rēwana, pāua and prawns.
And in the TVNZ studio, presenter John Campbell was subsisting on bags of lollies during the 1 NEWS election special, while panellist Nikki Kaye admitted to comfort eating chocolate as she watched the party she represented for 12 years crash to its heavy defeat.