Election 2014: Left routed

John Key: After the most surreal campaign in living memory, his party has gained two seats (@rnz)

Key points

  • National increases vote share on election night tally to win 61 seats in 121-seat parliament
  • Labour's vote falls, with defectors heading right to NZ First rather than left to the Greens
  • NZ First increases support but Winston's kingmaker services not required
  • Conservatives fail to make 5%
  • Internet Mana wiped out as party polls 1.26%, Harawira loses seat
  • Greens fail to see bounce predicted by polls, fall slightly
  • ACT, UnitedFuture hold seats; sub-1% list vote means no coat-tails
  • Maori Party loses two of its three seats but may pick up one on list vote
  • Labour rebel Stuart Nash takes Napier from National
  • Cunliffe wants to keep leadership, with ballot by Christmas
  • Conservatives, Internet Mana spend $7m between them (or at least had that much donated) without a single MP to show for it

Election 2014 overall status

100% of advance and election day votes have been counted, but 293,130 special votes (12.2% of total votes) have yet to be tallied. 

Close to 1 million of those who enrolled didn't vote didn't vote — an improvement over 2011, but still almost equal in number to those who voted for National.

See a list of all MPs from each party who made the cut (and a few who didn't) here.

Click any results table to zoom.

2011 final result

Includes specials.

With 100% of votes counted (bar specials), National is set to form the next government. The party is on 48.08%, ahead of the 47.00% it received in 2011.

If special votes follow their traditional pattern, and National's total is chipped down around 1% and Labour and the Greens rise slightly, then after all the campaign craziness it looks like the parties will end up almost exactly where they were on election night three years ago.

NBR Politics Editor Rob Hosking says the massive advance vote at this election over-rode the traditional trend that has seen National have a big early lead by dint of small rural booths being counted early, then fading as urban votes come in. A record 717,000 advance votes were counted by 8.30pm.

Couldn't get out from under it
National's challenges of the past month, from Dirty Politics (which raised questions yet to be answered) to Kim Dotcom's Moment of Truth event (which degenerated into a Mega infomercial), failed to touch the sides with middle New Zealand.

When interviewed ahead of his victory speech, John Key's take was that the controversies glavanised National voters, and sucked oxygen from opposition parties as they struggled to get any airtime for their own agendas.

Labour and the Greens would probably have to agree with that one. Particularly the latter. The party totals indicate Labour defectors headed right to NZ First rather than left to the Greens after a campaign where Russel Norman and Metiria Turei were often smothered out of the headlines.

Winston Peters had a few Dirty Politics and NSA jabs but the key to his election-time rejuvenation was the Lochinver sale. Labour, the Greens and the Conservatives all tried to own the debate about "the Chinese", but it didn't quite ring true. For Winston, it fit like an old glove.

Earlier, Hosking saw a possible scenario where Peters chose to sit on the cross-benches following a tight result, seeking to secure his legacy with a Dirty Politics cleanup. But despite NZ First's jump in support, Peters is not in a position to decide between kingmaker and troublemaker. National will be able to govern with its preferred three partners: ACT, the Maori Party and UnitedFuture.

Cunliffe won't budge
In terms of his job safety after tonight, David Cunliffe will have turned a nervous eye to two seats where Labour candidates bucked the trend and beat an incumbent: Stuart Nash, who picked up the safe National seat of Napier, and Kelvin Davis, who won his crucial fight against Hone Harawira — ensuring an Internet Mana wipeout after the party barely nudged 1% in the list vote.

Nash was aided by clumsy MMP tactics from the Conservatives but his success also turned on ignoring head office strategy. Ditto for Davis in Te Tai Tokerau. Cunliffe delicately danced around Internet Mana, saying its could have a place in government but not cabinet. Davis slammed Harawira for taking money from Dotcom, and called the accused pirate's party a fraud.

Notably, when asked about Cunliffe's leadership, his deputy David Parker said there was a constitutional process to be worked through, rather than backing his boss.

Despite presiding over Labour's worst result siince 1922, Mr Cunliffe made it clear in his concession speech he wanted to stay on.

He did not accept personal responsibility for the defeat. 

He was aiming for a leadership ballot by year's end, and he intended to win it.

Just minutes into the 2017 campaign, he had already handed Labour its first headache.


Hot seats

MMP's coat-tail and overhang rules mean these seats had the potential to influence the next government (overhang being when a party's electorate success outstrips it list vote success, forcing an increase to the minimum 120-seat Parliament. An example is when the Maori Party got just 1.43% of the party vote in 2011 but won three electorates).

Te Tai Tokerau (100)

Dotcom told an election night gathering at The Cloud that what he called his "poisened" personal brand hurt Internet Mana.

His critics will likely describe that as the truest thing he's said all campaign.

Click any results table to zoom

Epsom (100%)

Former ACT youth leader David Seymour is safely into Parliament, but ACT's sub 1% list vote means leader Jamie Whyte will be restricted to the sidelines.

Ohariu (96.7% counted)

With more of a wink and a nod and a cup of tea endorsement from the PM, Peter Dunne faced another tight race. He squeaked in by 944 votes.

Napier (100% counted)

National's Chris Tremain (retiring at this election) won Napier with a thumping majority in 2011.

But the late entrance of Sensible Sentencing's Garth McVicar into the race for the Conservatives split the right wing vote, allowing Labour's Stuart Nash to grab an easy victory.

Nash showed campaign smarts, going his own way rather than following his party's head office.

But ultimately his victory owed a lot to ham-fisted tactics from Colin Craig as McVicar was put on the ballot too late to cut a deal with National.

The Maori Party faced a tight race with Labour in the seats vacated by it retiring co-leaders Tariana Turia (Te Tai Hauāuru) and Pita Sharples (Tamaki Makaurau).

It lost both but Te Ururoa Flavell comfortably held his Waiariki electorate, and the party could pick up another MP through its list vote share.

Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) 99% coiunted

Te Tai Hauāuru (South Waikato/Taranaki) 98.6% counted

See full results on The Electoral Commission's website, ElectionResults.org.nz.

What do you think? Who as leader would give Labour the best shot at increasing its vote next election? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.


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