If there was a real moment of truth in this election, it came last night. For Prime Minister John Key and National, it showed just how much New Zealanders are behind them.
For Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, it showed he should have stayed out of politics.
And for Labour Party leader David Cunliffe, it revealed the enormity of the task ahead.
Kiwi voters gave Team Key a third term, complete with the holy grail of being able to govern alone.
National won a whopping 48 percent of the party vote, and a total of 61 seats.
As for Labour, Mr Cunliffe is vowing to fight on, but he could face a battle to retain the leadership.
It was the campaign from hell for Mr Key, but he managed to pull off the victory from heaven – three more years, a third term and already looking ahead to a fourth.
But where there is victory, there is also defeat.
"The brand Kim Dotcom was poison for what we were trying to achieve," said Dotcom in a speech to party faithful last night.
Mr Key obviously thinks Dotcom is poison too, but reserved a special thank-you for him, National saying that after Dotcom failed to deliver at the Moment of Truth on Monday, it got a 2 percent bump in the polls.
Dotcom's failed attack activated its voters after a divisive campaign, turning them out and helping them from the danger zone of a minority government to an outright majority.
As well as lifting National, everyone else blamed Dotcom for tearing them down, from Mr Cunliffe to Conservative leader Colin Craig and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
It's almost a carbon copy of the last government but better for Mr Key, with ACT, Maori and United Future all optional extras. Mr Key has unbridled power.
All the talk of Mr Key needing New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters or Mr Craig was reduced to just that, talk.
The Peters surge was all for nothing; Mr Key will ignore him.
Mr Peters has decided the results give him the right to be Leader of the Opposition. But Dr Norman thinks he's got that job.
They clearly don't rate Mr Cunliffe, who rates himself enough to stay on. But Labour is divided.
The "Camp Davids" are back, David Shearer refusing to rule out a leadership challenge.
As for Mr Craig, Mr Key killed him off so National could maximise its vote, and Mr Craig knows it.
Mr Key soaked up immense pressure, took the hits. He backed himself and came out on top – the winner. And the winner takes all.
source: newshub archive