New Zealand election live

12.40am. If the election had been single-member first-past-the-post on current boundaries, the result would have been National 41 seats, Labour 21, Maori 5, minor parties 3. Make that preferential, and give Labour 75 per cent of Greens preferences and split the others evenly, and there’s little change: National 40, Labour 22, Maori 5, minor parties 3.

10.55pm. Regarding that ninth Green Party seat, Antony Green writes: “Unlike Australia, they do not count special (absent, postal etc) votes progressively, but as a lump in about 12 days time. It will be two weeks before they do the final allocation of seats.” Strong Green performance on special votes has been a notable feature of past elections.

10.45pm. Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons addressing supporters. Haven’t mentioned them much because the result has left them marginalised. The party has gained two seats, from six to eight, although Fitzsimons is holding out for an ninth. Not bad, but less than the polls had indicated.

10.38pm. Labour and NZ First principals venting about the media, in time-honoured fashion.

10.33pm. Peter Dunne confirmed in his speech 10 minutes ago that he would back a National government, and there’s no doubt left that that’s what we’ll be seeing.

10.28pm. However, Labour has taken the lead in Christchurch Central, where they trailed earlier after winning by 23.7 per cent in 2005 – though I can’t speak for redistribution effects.

10.20pm. Nikki Kaye has won for National in Auckland Central, in what seems to be the biggest electorate seat boilover. Labour won by 9.3 per cent in 2005, presumably on different boundaries.

10.14pm. Remember that when Elections NZ says 90 per cent counted, they mean 90 per cent of booths counted. The ones outstanding are presumably big ones, mostly in Auckland. So the current 45.6-33.6 gap might narrow a little further than you’d think.

10.01pm. Peter Dunne home and hosed in Ohariu, Maori seats now definitely 5-2. Only question is how things are looking beyond 61 seats. National still slowly losing ground, but will win at least 58 seats, ACT NZ looking very good for five, maybe only four if they’re unlucky. No question that we’ll be seeing a National-ACT NZ government.

9.48pm. Antony: “The best estimate I see for the new Parliament is 58 National, 5 ACT plus Peter Dunne – Right with 64, then 44 Labor, 8 Green, Jim Anderton, giving the Left 53, plus 5 Maori. 122 seat Parliament.” Third on the ACT NZ list is Roger Douglas, Treasurer in David Lange’s Labour government in the 1980s famed for his free-market reforms, who could well be back in cabinet.

9.45pm. National vote edges down enough to cost them a seat, so make that National 59 and ACT NZ 5.

9.37pm. We’re likely looking at an overhang of two, so 61 will be a majority with an independent Speaker. Current figures suggest National 60 and ACT NZ five, although the former are fading a little.

9.33pm. Little change in Te Tai Tonga with a big advance in the vote, so the Maori seats are firming up as five Maori Party and two Labour Party, with a very remote possibility that Labour might yet make that 4-3 with Te Tai Tonga.

9.30pm. Big advance in the Ohariu count, but the vote has changed very little, so Peter Dunne should be home.

9.28pm. National Party down to 46.7 per cent with 56 per cent counted, so the prospect of majority government is diminishing.

9.21pm. Antony sticking with his 45-35 prediction.

9.20pm. New Zealand First surely gone now, fading to 4.3 per cent with 47.4 counted.

9.19pm. Labour beginning to gain a little on the National Party as the southern Auckland vote comes in.

9.18pm. Maori seats. Labour home in Ikaroa-Rawhiti; probably done enough in Hauraki-Waikato; only slightly behind in Te Tai Tonga 44.2 to 41.8 per cent, but with 60.3 counted the Maori Party candidate is probably home. Other four seats held by the Maori Party.

9.15pm. Local observers excited the National candidate is ahead in Auckland Central, and in the hunt in Christchurch Central.

9.13pm. Silly woman on Radio New Zealand complaining that UNZF and Progressive Party are in parliament with a small share of the national vote. Of all the criticisms to make of MMP …

9.11pm. Peter Dunne back down from 33.2 to 32.6 per cent in Ohariu with 26.1 per cent. Still likely to win with Labour second on 29.7 per cent, though worth keeping an eye on. It’s probably only his own seat that’s at stake: party’s national vote is 0.9 per cent, whereas they would need at least 1.5 per cent for a second seat (more if NZ First makes the threshold).

9.04pm. National vote count up to 34 per cent, and the National vote still a strong 47.8 per cent. However, ACT NZ is looking at five seats and far the most likely result is a National-ACT coalition. Antony Green discusses talk of Peter Dunne being made Speaker.

8.58pm. Count in Ohariu up to 19.6, Peter Dunne gains a bit of ground from 32.1 to 33.2.

8.54pm. Antony: “Really looking like National 45%, Labour 35% at this stage. National plus ACT still looking at just reaching a majority.”

8.53pm. Commentators on 3News expect NZ First to lose ground when special votes are admitted.

8.51pm. Assuming NZ First don’t pull a rabbit out of the hat, it’s looking like the vote for excluded parties will be 6.5 per cent, meaning the National Party will need a bit under 47 per cent to get a majority.

8.50pm. Labour looking increasingly safe in the Maori seat of Ikaroa-Rawhiti, leading 51.3 to 41.6 with 28.2 reporting.

8.44pm. Antony confirms that the booth votes should even up the vote in the terms I suggested earlier, to about 45-35 in favour of the National Party. Booths currently coming in are very small ones. City booths later on should see Labour and the Green Party go up (from 31.3 and 6.3 at present, to the National Party’s 48.7).

8.43pm. Jim Anderton has opened up a handy lead in Wigram, 42.4 per cent to 32.4 per cent National.

8.42pm. 15.2 per cent of booths in from Ohariu, and Peter Dunne has faded a little further to 32.1 per cent, against 29.2 per cent Labour and 28.3 per cent National.

8.35pm. Maori Party still looking good in Te Tai Tonga, leaving two of the seven in doubt but favouring Labour.

8.29pm. Labour still looking good in the Maori seat of Ikaroa-Rawhiti: leading 49.7 to 43.7 with 12.9 counted (that’s 12.9 per cent of booths, not votes).

8.27pm. No great change in Ohariu with count up from 4.3 to 8.7 per cent.

8.21pm. Commentator on Radio NZ makes the point that the higher NZ First gets without crossing the threshold, the lower the vote the National Party needs for an absolute majority. At present the NZ First is almost exactly where the National Party would want it – 4.5 per cent.

8.17pm. Count in Ohariu up from 4.3 per cent to 6.5 per cent, and Peter Dunne is up from 33.2 per cent

8.15pm. Much as we saw in ACT, we appear to be in a lull between the entry of “advance” votes and booth votes in significant numbers.

8.10pm. Peter Dunne of United Future NZ is down on raw figures from 45.9 per cent to 33.2 per cent in Ohariu with 4.3 per cent counted. He may have suffered from the redistribution which changed the name of his seat from Ohariu-Belmont. At the moment it’s a tight three-horse race: Dunne 1197, National 1032, Labour 1001.

8.03pm. Antony: “The advance votes tell us National will win. But did the gap between National and Labor tighten at the end of the campaign? If it did, then it might be closer. Will Labor plus the Greens come close to National plus ACT? It doesn’t look like Peter Dunne or Jim Anderton will do anyhting other than elect themselves.”

7.58pm. No change in Maori seats: the Maori Party leads in five, but trails slightly in Ikaroa-Räwhiti and Hauraki-Waikato.

7.50pm. Antony on the advance vote: “in 2005, Labor rose from 36.8% to 41.1% at the end of the count, National from 43.5% to 39.1%, Green 4.8% to 5.3%, NZ First 6.1% to 5.7%, United NZ 3.0% to 2.7%, Maori 1.6% to 2.1%.” Does that mean the current raw figures of National 49, Labour 31.5, Green 6, NZF 4.5 should be adjusted to National 44.5, Labour 36, Green 6.5 and NZF 4?

7.48pm. Winston Peters now getting thrashed in Tauranga, and NZ First national vote has faded a little to 4.6 per cent with 4.6 per counted.

7.45pm. ACT NZ on 3.3 per cent so far, and I imagine would go higher with big Auckland booths, compared with 1.5 per cent (two seats) in 2005.

7.41pm. TVNZ projecting a slight National Party majority with 63 seats out of 123, the remainder going 40 Labour, 8 Greens, 6 Maori, 4 ACT New Zealand, one each for Progressive and United Future New Zealand. Even if the National Party is reined in a little from here, they could surely rely on backing from ACT NZ.

7.34pm. Antony (hell, just read his blog): “Models are looking better for Labor than the raw vote, but still not enough to prevent a change of government.”

7.30pm. Antony reckons we’re in for “quite a wait” to see if the National Party wins a majority – but if those are the stakes, it seems there’s very little prospect of any kind of Labour government being formed.

7.28pm. However, Labour leads 730-632 in Ikaroa-Räwhiti. Maori leads of varying sizes in the other five.

7.26pm. Antony projects five of seven Maori seats going to the Maori Party, but the first one I’ve looked at is the one reckoned Labour’s best chance of hanging on (Hauraki-Waikato), and Labour’s lead is only 490-475.

7.24pm. Antony Green reports: “Early models are matching votes up in line with current percentages, which would point to a National majority government.”

7.19pm. Very early results provide hope for NZ First: they’re bobbing around the threshold mark, and Winston Peters leads in Tauranga 236 votes to 224.

7.18pm. National vote with 3 per cent counted: National 49, Labour 32, Green 6 per cent, NZ First 4.5 per cent.

7.17pm. Jim Anderton comfortably ahead in Wigram with 2 of 64 booths reporting.

7.15pm. Peter Dunne only slightly ahead in Ohariu, with 2 of 46 booths reporting.

7.12pm. Antony Green says the “first advance votes” are in line with the polls: National high 40s, Labour mid-to-high 30s, Greens 7 per cent, NZ First 3.8 per cent.

7.10pm. It doesn’t look like they’re providing booth-level figures for tonight’s count either, which pretty much leaves us completely in the dark. In 2005 the early count looked diabolical for Labour to the untrained eye, but that was because rural booths were coming in early. If any media outlets are making the effort to match booth results, I would be pleased if someone could bring it to my attention.

7.02pm. Curses to the NZ Electoral Commission, which claims to have CSV files of booth-level results from 2005 on its site – but all the links are broken. Let’s hope it gets a lot better from here.

7.00pm. A quick guide for beginners. New Zealand has a proportional representation electoral system, which normally means the non-local observer need look no further than the national vote. However, mixed-member proportional brings the complication that minor parties must clear one of two hurdles to win seats proportional to their vote share: either they must win 5 per cent of the national vote, or win at least one constituency seat. The minor parties in play are:

  • The Green Party, who current polling suggests are sure to clear 5 per cent. Notwithstanding party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons’ win in Coromandel in 1999, they will probably need to.
  • New Zealand First, closely associated with its troubled leader Winston Peters and presumably in big trouble. Peters lost his constituency seat of Tuaranga in 2005, but his party scored 5.7 per cent of the national vote despite a 4.7 per cent swing. In spite of everything, Peters might have some hope of recovering Tauranga with the retirement of one-term National Party MP Bob Clarkson.
  • The Maori Party, believed likely to capture most of the seven dedicated Maori electorates (it currently has four), potentially causing a significant overhang (see below).
  • ACT New Zealand, the free-market party led by Rodney Hide, who retained his seat of Epsom in 2005 with 42.3 per cent of the vote against the National Party’s 33.7 per cent.
  • United Future New Zealand, led by Peter Dunne, who is very likely to be re-elected in his seat of Ohariu.
  • Progressive Party, led by veteran Jim Anderton who polled 46.6 per cent in his seat of Wigram in 2005.

In normal circumstances, the parliament will consist of 63 general electorates, seven Maori electorates and 50 list seats. However, these numbers can be increased in the event of an overhang, which occurs if a party wins more constituency seats than it would normally get from its share of the national vote. This is almost certain to be true of the Maori Party, which might win as many as seven seats despite having a national vote of between 2 and 3 per cent according to the polls. The Progressive Party constituency seat is also likely to be won from a negligible national vote that wouldn’t account for a seat. Taken together, that could lead to an overhang of between two and five seats, for a total of up to 125 seats rather than 120. As such, attention here will be focused on the national vote; Tauranga, Epsom, Ohariu and Wigram; and the Maori electorates.

6.10pm (NZ time). Welcome to my live coverage of the New Zealand election count. I’m getting in early here to advertise the fact that I’m doing this – polls in New Zealand do not in fact close until 7pm.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

557 comments on “New Zealand election live”

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  1. [“Thank goodness we’ll get rid of this hopeless Government later this year”. My wife’s mild demur and defence of Helen C. was met with the observation: “She’s a communist lesbian”, and “the marriage is just a front.”]
    My guess is they took out U.S. citizenship and then voted for McCain / Palin.

  2. [Oh god, please don’t resurrect (pun intended) the soul discussion.

    Maybe you could set up “Adam’s psephology/theology blog”]
    [I hope Mrs Key is ready for a ripe royal rodgering tonight. This guy is on fire]
    He thinks he is Barack, so he will probably invite Michelle Obama instead.

  3. I was thinking of posting something questioning ShowsOn’s misrepresentation of the soul debate but I agree… we don’t need to go there again.

    “I hope Mrs Key is ready for a ripe royal rodgering tonight. This guy is on fire”


  4. The NZ conservatives now have the opportunity to show us if they have learned anything at all from the world wide financial crisis. My guess is they will continue singing from the same old song sheet – free markets, small government, surpluses at all costs, privatise everything in sight etc, etc. Who would want to be a New Zealander right now? (apart from Glen).

  5. Adam
    dont know if youve checked the US thread but both ron and i have pointed out an error re your presidential 2008 map

    pps for political/religious tragics ABC2 is showing “a man for all seasons”

  6. [No I’m not, I’m an atheist.]
    LOL! 😀 And you STILL can’t see the absurdity of the position that you are defending? You know, the bit about the fact the dogma isn’t supported by any evidence! If you can’t see how that bit of dogma is wrong, you should think God exists. Along with creationism itself, which can’t be conclusively disproved either (there is simply a much more LIKELY explanation called evolution).

  7. The rail network is back in government hands.

    Quite a bit of the electricity sector too.

    The post office and Kiwisaver.

    A large stake in Air NZ.

    The motorway network.


    The workplace insurance scheme.


    The foreshore and seabed.

    The healthcare system.

    Schools and universities.

    The fire brigade.


    Tax collection.


    Government itself.

  8. [The fire brigade.


    Tax collection.


    Government itself.]

    I propose that any democratic government would be crazy to privatise any of these!

  9. “She’s a communist lesbian”, and “the marriage is just a front.”

    That was the Exclusive Brethren’s contribution to NZ politics wasn’t it?

  10. So all in all there were 17 seats gained by parties and 7 seats lost by other parties.

    What a ridiculous system. Sums up NZ to a tee really

  11. [that anyone who opposes abortion on the grounds that a fertilised egg cell is a human life which possesses a soul (the standard Christian view, which I don’t share), is a fool because it is “obvious” and can be “scientifically proved”]
    Rubbish. I demonstrated that it is extraordinarily unlikely, and that we have better explanations for human behavior. I am sorry you can’t understand this distinction.
    [My point was simply that religious belief and scientific proof don’t exist in the same epistemological realm – one is not susceptible of refutation by the other.]
    Complete and utter garbage. Science explains more as each year passes, therefore it is explaining things now that were considered theological questions 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 or 1000 years ago. Before Newton how the planets moved (not what they moved around) was considered a theological question that science couldn’t explain! Before Darwin the existence of species was considered a theological question explained only by the bible. There is no epistemological division, that is pure fiction that is in your brain seemingly to stop yourself from asking and finding answers for complex questions.

  12. [That was the Exclusive Brethren’s contribution to NZ politics wasn’t it?]
    Yes. Did they get involved this year?

    Or do we only find out a few months from now?

  13. “So all in all there were 17 seats gained by parties and 7 seats lost by other parties.”

    What are you talking about? UF lost 2 seats, Labour lost 7 seats, NZF lost 7 seats. Greens gained two seats, ACT gained three seats, Maori Party gained one seat, and National gained eleven seats. That’s 16 seats net lost by the government parties and 17 seats net gained by the opposition parties.

  14. Is a communist lesbian different from a lesbian communist? Gosh, where does one stress their collectivism; the bed or the private estate?

    Commiserations to Big Helen, at least NZ had a leader you could look up to in the last decade, unlike that Tory toad we had to suffer.

  15. Slightly off topic but I was watching Mythbusters earlier this evening and in one of their tests they used a model ship and showed footage of the box which had the name of the ship on it. Guess what the name was?

  16. If anyone cares: had the election been single-member first-past-the-post on current boundaries, the result would have been National 41 seats, Labour 21, Maori 5, minor parties 3. Make that preferential, and give Labour 75 per cent of Greens preferences and split the others evenly, and there’s little change: National 40, Labour 22, Maori 5, minor parties 3.

  17. I say that because many people vote differently in the electorate vote and the party vote and I think that the party vote would be closer to how they would vote in a one vote election.

    Nobody has tried to guess which ship yet.

  18. SNIP: ShowsOn, do this again and I’ll ban you – The Management.

    [Slightly off topic but I was watching Mythbusters earlier this evening and in one of their tests they used a model ship and showed footage of the box which had the name of the ship on it. Guess what the name was?]

  19. shows
    “if you keep on about souls I’ll come up with another real stinker of a pun/joke.
    I’ve already forgotten your last one, so you could just reuse it.”

    sorry I entered your intellectual orbit,
    will henceforth resume snuffling around,without your obvious brilliance to guide me.

  20. I suspect the lively interest shown in the Nuw Zulund election has been rather overshadowed by the soul argument. This could become one of those performance pieces destined for the condemnation of the PM. Anyone got any good snaps, either analogue or digital that could be used?
    What do you suppose Malcolm will have to say about it tomorrow – headline in ABC Online News? “The PM has been too tardy, no, too quick to condemn the Nuw Zulund gov’t, for b%%%%%%%%g up the Australian economy and its comedic roots” said the PM in waiting. He added , somewhat sheepishly, that Barack hadn’t yet returned his phone calls, and couldn’t understand why.

  21. [sorry I entered your intellectual orbit,
    will henceforth resume snuffling around,without your obvious brilliance to guide me.]
    I simply can’t remember what you wrote. I didn’t write that in a denigrating fashion whatsoever.

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