Election live updates: The Monday after

It's two days after the general election, but the shape of the next Government sits in the hands of an unhurried Winston Peters.

Plenty of new faces who will be entering Parliament, including a former television presenter, an ex-Mayor and the youngest MP in 42 years. 

There are still around 384,000 special votes to be counted, about 15 percent of the total number of votes. The Electoral Commission has set a target to release the final results on October 7.

3:30pm - Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says her party will not support NZ First's policy to hold a referendum on the Māori seats.

"It would be completely contradictory for us to work so hard in those Māori seats to earn the respect of those voters...to then undermine that from the very outset. That one's a non-negotiable," she said.

The party now has the largest ever Māori caucus, a feat that Ms Ardern says comes with pride and responsibility. "Regardless of what position we are in we'll be advocates to lift Māori home ownership, lift outcomes for Māori health, and lift job opportunities and hope for our rangatahi," she said.

2:30pm - Jacinda Ardern has introduced her provisional new MPs, and expects one or two more to be added once the special votes have been counted. 

"No one has expanded quite like Labour has," she said.

Ms Ardern hasn't spoken to NZ First leader Winston Peters yet but intends to reach out to him in the next couple of days.

She'll be putting her negotiation team together on Tuesday, and says she will announce her front bench that same afternoon.

"The majority of New Zealanders voted to change the status quo," she said. 

Election live updates: The Monday after
Photo credit: Newshub/ Ben Irwin

12:50pm - Otago University law expert Professor Andrew Geddis has spoken about what would happen if New Zealand First resuses to join any governing arrangement with National or Labour. 

It's unlikely to happen, but Prof Geddis said NZ First could abstain from voting on supply and conifidence matters. "This would reduce the numbers needed for a governing majority to 56 MPs - even after special votes are counted, only National (with perhaps ACT's support) would be able to reach it" he said.

"So in effect a decision by NZ First to abstain is a decision to let National govern - just without the benefits of being in government itself."

If NZ First actively cast its votes against both National and Labour then no party could reach a governing majority. New Zealand would need to have a new election, but Prof Geddis says "This will never happen - it would be the political death of NZ First as voters would hammer them for forcing us to go through another round of voting."

12:10pm - MPs heading down to the Beehive, and among them is a cohort of new MPs. New Labour list MP Kiri Allan has likened it to the first day of school. She joins a number of new MPs from National, Labour, NZ First and the Green party.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern will speak to media later this afternoon and introduce her party's provisional newcomers.

12:00pm - When will Parliament return to its ordinary business?

Returned and newly elected MPs must return to form the 52nd Parliament no later than six weeks after the return of the writ with the final election results. When the new Parliament sits for the first time, the last Parliament's sitting programme doesn't automatically continue - a new one will be recommended. The House will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until a new programme is recommended.

Who's running the country right now? 

Until the 52nd Parliament is formed, the National government is the 'caretaker'. They continue running the country but cannot make any major decisions or introduce any new policies. Otago University law expert Professor Andrew Geddis says it's called the "caretaker convention". If an emergency situation arises that needs a new and immediate response, the government can only act after consulting with the other parties. 


11:30am - Former United Future leader has given an update on his whereabouts. He's setting up a new office at home, after leaving Parliament at the election. Mr Dunne announced his resignation a month ago after 33 years as an MP. He said he sensed a a strong mood for change in the Ōhāriu electorate, which Labour MP Greg O'Connor took out in the general election on Saturday. 

10:20am - Massey University politics professor Richard Shaw said that when it comes to forming a government coalition, no party has the 'moral majority' to do so.

There is a 10 percent gap between the largest parties National and Labour, however Prof Shaw said no party has won yet.

"The people who won the election are the people who form the government," he told the AM Show.

10am - Don Brash said he would love to see the Māori electorates abolished. 

"I think the end of the party is a positive for New Zealand," he told The AM Show. 

NZ First has called for a referendum on whether to abolish the Māori seats, but Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she would refuse to go along with it even if it was a bottom line for Winston Peters.

9:30am - Labour's campaign manager Phil Twyford told the AM Show that Bill English is "overreaching" and acting as though he'd won the election - even though National did not gain a majority of votes.

"More people voted for change than for the status quo," he said. 

Mr Twyford is confident Labour can work with NZ First and the Greens. 

9am - Green leader James Shaw said his party wouldn't support a Labour-NZ First government from the outside. 

He said National would have to fundamentally change their economic approach for the Greens to support them, but did not rule it out entirely.

"Fundamentally, the kinds of things we are trying to advance here around climate change, ending poverty, cleaning up our rivers, those are actually economic questions - and the consequences that we are seeing in the environment and in society are a function of the way that they manage the economy," he told the AM Show.