NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern vows to govern for every New Zealander in victory speech

A triumphant Jacinda Ardern has thanked Kiwis for throwing their support behind the Labour Party, which has won the 2020 New Zealand election.

At 11:00pm Labour had around 49 percent of the votes with 94 percent of the results counted. Second-placed National has 27 percent, followed by ACT on 8 percent and the Greens on 7.5 percent.

Ardern addressed supporters at the Labour headquarters in Auckland's Town Hall on Saturday night.

"Thank you to the many people who gave us their vote, who trusted us to continue with leading New Zealand's recovery, who backed the plan we are already rolling out, and to those amongst you who may not have supported Labour before. And the results tell me there were a few of you," she said.

"To you, I say thank you. We will not take your support for granted and I can promise you we will be a party which governs for every New Zealander."

She said governing for every New Zealander was more important than ever and hoped Kiwis have the opportunity to debate and see each other's perspectives.

"Elections aren't always great at bringing people together but they also don't need to tear one another apart," she said.

"Tonight's result has been strong and it is clear that Labour will lead the Government for the next three years," she said to cheers from the crowd.

The Labour leader noted the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a pushed back election which was "full of anxiety and uncertainty".

But she said the Labour government will aim to build New Zealand back better and stronger by creating a good economy, creating more jobs, upskilling Kiwis, protecting the environment, and taking on poverty and inequality.

"Our plan is already in action and already working. But after this result, we have the mandate to accelerate our response and our recovery and tomorrow we start."

Newshub political commentator Linda Clark said the most interesting thing about the speech was Ardern's focusing on changing the way New Zealand does politics.

"She said it in the last debate. And that is the speech that is the marrying part of that. She talked about recognising and understanding other people's perspectives. She talked about leading a Government that will work for everyone. She did also talk about long-lasting change. It's what I've been talking about all night that she does want to transform New Zealand but she wants to do it in a way that sticks. So when the wave of blue comes through as one day it will, all of those policies for Labour people will not be knocked aside."

Paul Henry said he thought the speech was not a victory speech.

"That was a strategy speech. That was a program, that was a speech for another term, not just the next term."

Ardern then spoke to Newshub's election special panellists, with Tova O'Brien congratulating her on Labour's "epic, epic win".

O'Brien asked if Labour would bring in the Green Party on a deal even if they don't need them to make up the majority.

"When it comes to what might happen with other parties, look I'd rather the results finally all finish rolling in. But it is clear Labour will be leading and have that mandate."

Duncan Garner asked if Labour wants to govern alone or form a consensus.

"I am a consensus politician," Ardern said.

"My view is that's how we get change that sticks and I like to think that's how we've attracted votes this election that will have spanned across the political divide. I do know Duncan, that we will have had people voting for us this election that haven't voted for Labour before.

"But I do also think they have done that because they want us to crack on with it, they want us to move with haste and speed on the recovery, they don't want too much complexity. So I will be keeping all of that in mind in the work that we do moving forward."

She said one surprise from election night was the result in the Auckland Central electorate where Green Party candidate Chloe Swarbrick is leading Labour's Helen White by almost 500 votes.

"That just wasn't an outcome I would have called," Ardern said.