NZ Election 2020 live updates: National loses two seats, Māori Party pick up extra seat, cannabis fails

Labour and the Māori Party have each picked up a new seat in Parliament while National has lost two MPs, the Electoral Commission's final election results show.

What you need to know:

  • The Electoral Commission has announced the official outcome of the election.
  • The commission has been counting special votes since the election - that's Kiwis who voted from overseas, people who enrolled to vote on Election Day and those who voted from somewhere that was not their electorate. 
  • The preliminary political party results showed Labour way out in front with 49 percent of the vote - enough to form a Government alone - followed by National on 26.8 percent, ACT on 8 percent and the Greens on 7.6 percent. 
  • However, the results changed on Friday, with National losing two seats and Labour and the Māori Party picking up one each.
  • The outcome of the referendums did not change.

Live updates are now over.

3:55pm - Jacinda Ardern's press conference has finished.

3:52pm - Here are some photos from earlier on Friday when ministers and under-secretaries were sworn in and Cabinet met for the first time.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and the Government's new executive posing for an official photograph at Government House on November 6, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Labour's Jacinda Ardern claimed a second term as prime minister after claiming a majority in the 2020 New Zealand General Election on Saturday 17 October, claiming 64 seats. (Photo by Mark Mitchell-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson look on during the first cabinet meeting since the election at Parliament on November 06, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Labour's Jacinda Ardern claimed a second term as prime minister after claiming a majority in the 2020 New Zealand General Election on Saturday 17 October, claiming 64 seats.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy during a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on November 06, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Labour's Jacinda Ardern claimed a second term as prime minister after claiming a majority in the 2020 New Zealand General Election on Saturday 17 October, claiming 64 seats.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty.

3:50pm - Ardern has again said New Zealand has faith in the US institutions and the American democracy. Votes continue to be counted after the US election earlier this week.

She doesn't believe Kiwis would take kindly to other world leaders commenting on our election, so she won't do that in regard to the US election. 

3:45pm - Ardern believes her Cabinet and MPs understand their responsibilty governing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Judith Collins has thanked Gerry Brownlee for being her deputy leader. He has just announced he will stand down from that role next Tuesday.

"A big thank you to @GerryBrownleeMP for his absolute support for @NZNationalParty & stepping up as Deputy Leader in a time of need before the last election. #CourageandHeart," she has tweeted.

3:40pm - Changes to the small business loan scheme will be made before summer. This is to provide certainty to business.

Cabinet will meet again on Monday, Ardern tells media. Further details of its agenda will be revealed next week.

She recognises that Labour has won Whangarei, Northland and Maungakiekie on official results. Labour now has 65 seats.

The honour of serving comes with enormous responsibility, she says.

Ardern stands by her decision not to reveal her position on the cannabis referendum. She says Kiwis have made up their own minds. The tightening of the race doesn't mean the Government will reconsider cannabis laws.

She rules out any sort of deal with the Maori Party.

3:35pm - Ardern says the new Cabinet met this afternoon. The formal commission opening of Parliament will happen on November 25. A Speaker will be elected then and MPs sworn in. The official state opening will be the next day. The Speech from the Throne will happen on that day.

Normal business will start the following week. The House will rise on December 9.

3:30pm - Jacinda Ardern is about to give a press conference. You can watch that above.

3:15pm - Swarbrick has been confirmed as the MP for Auckland Central.

3:05pm - Gerry Brownlee has announced he won't seek reappointment as deputy leader of the National Party at their caucus meeting on Tuesday.

His statement:

"For the past few weeks the National Party has been reflecting on how the Parliamentary Caucus can best discharge its responsibilities for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

"Today, with the release of the special vote count, we have our final numbers. Our smaller team of 33 is now ready to focus on the work ahead.

"In July I stepped into the role of deputy leader of the National Party to support Judith as our leader. It’s my strong view that Judith campaigned extremely well in what was an unprecedented election.

"While I was proud to step in at the time, and remain so, I’ve always believed that influence is more important than position when it comes to politics.

"It’s time to think about the three years ahead. I want Judith to have the strongest and most complementary support beside her as leader.

"New Zealand faces some challenging times ahead. For some time to come, coronavirus and the fallout from responding to it, along with the importance of keeping its effects away from our shores, will be the dominant activities for both the Government and Opposition.

"My focus, moving forward, will be on rebuilding National’s base in Christchurch and representing our voters there.

"Accordingly, I will not be seeking reappointment as the deputy leader when Caucus meets on Tuesday."

2:50pm - Matt King, who on the results released on Friday has lost his seat in Northland, will ask for a judicial recount.

"The electoral commission published today that after special votes were counted, I have lost the seat of Northland by 163 votes. This is after being ahead by 742 votes on election night," he writes.

"I congratulate Willow Jean Prime on a close race, but this race is still far too close to call.

"Northland deserves every vote to be scrutinised to ensure that however close the result may be, that it is an exact account.

"For this reason, I will be requesting a judicial recount.

"With such a close result, it is only fair that we double check the results for the people of Northland."

2:35pm - The Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi is "humbled and privileged" to have become a MP along with Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, whose place in Parliament was confirmed on Friday.

"First and foremost, I want to acknowledge Tamati Coffey and his whānau for an outstanding campaign and for his service to Waiariki over the past 3 years," Waititi says.

"I also want to thank the people of Waiariki for returning our movement back to the big house. I am extremely proud that Waiariki were brave enough and courageous enough to trust our candidate vote campaign strategy because we have achieved our goal; Waiariki now has two representatives in Tamati and I. I look forward to working with him to do more for our people."

He will now take over as the party's co-leader and acknowledged Tamihere's role during the election campaign.

"His leadership has been exemplary. We can now confirm that the Māori waka is back on the water and the next 3 years will be focussed on building our movement together to ensure that my 6 other mates are on that waka with me come 2023."

Waititi says he will be contacting other party leaders "to discuss potential working relationships centered on the advancement of Māori".

2:30pm - The Green Party has reacted to the final election results.

"We're incredibly excited to confirm our outstanding success this election," co-leader Marama Davidson.

"It was an election where we defied the odds, we’ve achieved an historic outcome where we grew our vote as a support party in Government. This is a first in MMP history, and the first time we have grown our caucus since 2011."

2:20pm - Official results show the Greens have jumped over Act in the share of the vote. On preliminary results, Act had 8 percent to the Greens' 7.6 percent. Now, the Greens have 7.9 percent to Act's 7.6 percent.

2:15pm - New Zealand has voted not to legalise recreational cannabis, final referendum results show - despite special votes narrowing the margin of defeat.

referendum on the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill - which sets out a way for the Government to regulate weed - was held alongside the general election and End of Life Choice referendum last month.

Preliminary results released by the Electoral Commission last week showed 1,114,485 Kiwis (46.1 percent) were in support of bringing the Bill into force, with 1,281,818 (53.1 percent) against.

Read more here.

2:05pm - As mentioned below, with National's Lee and King losing their electorate seats, Pugh won't fall out of Parliament. She previously said it was possible she would lose her seat.

"It looks like that's going to happen again, although I'm not quite sure whether we will have enough wriggle room this time, because it's a very short list," Pugh said after the election.

Nick Smith will also stay an MP.

2pm - Labour and the Māori Party have each picked up a new seat in Parliament while National has lost two MPs, the Electoral Commission's final election results show.

Labour now has 65 seats from the party vote compared to 64 on election night while National now has 33 compared to 35. The Māori Party now has two seats, while the Greens and ACT both retain their 10 seats each with no change.

Labour's Priyanca Radhakrishan has won Maungakiekie with a majority of 635 votes over National's Denise Lee. Labour has also won Northland with a majority of 163 votes over National's Matt King. Labour's Emily Henderson has also won Whangarei ousting National's Shane Reti.

Henderson will be Labour's new MP.

Dr Reti is high on National's list so he will remain an MP, but Lee and King will not make it back into Parliament. As these two are leaving, Maureen Pugh - who was tipped to lose her place in Parliament - will stay on as an MP from the National Party's list.

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will join Rawiri Waititi as an MP.

All other candidates leading on election night have been confirmed as winning their seat, including Green MP Chloe Swarbrick who defied the polls and won Auckland Central from National.

Final election results

  • Labour - 50 percent or 65 seats
  • National - 25.6 percent or 33 seats
  • Greens - 7.9 percent or 10 seats
  • ACT - 7.6 percent or 10 seats
  • Māori Party - 1.2 percent and 2 seats
  • New Zealand First - 2.6 percent
  • The Opportunities Party (TOP) - 1.5 percent
  • New Conservative - 1.5 percent
  • Advance NZ - 1 percent

The cannabis and euthanasia results remain unchanged, so the End of Life Choice Act will become law while the process of legalising recreational cannabis will not go ahead.

The final results of the End of Life Choice referendum

  • 65.1 percent in favour - 33.7 percent against

The final results of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control referendum

  • 48.4 percent in favour - 50.7 percent against
The End of Life Choice referendum.
The End of Life Choice referendum.
The cannabis referendum results.
The cannabis referendum results.

1:55pm - We're five minutes away.

1:30pm - Let's look at the state of play heading into the 2pm release.

The preliminary results:

Labour: 49.1 percent or 64 seats

National: 26.8 percent or 35 seats

Act: 8 percent or 10 seats

Greens: 7.6 percent or 10 seats

Māori Party: 1 percent and 1 seat (Waiariki).

1:15pm - Could the cannabis referendum vote flip? On preliminary results, 53.1 percent of people were against legalising marijuana and 46.1 percent were in favour.

Simon Bridges has compared the special votes for the cannabis referendum to a pregnancy saying you either "are or you aren't".

Speaking on The AM Show on Friday Bridges said he doesn't believe the results of the referendum will change with the release of more than 400,000 votes at 2pm on Friday.

"It's like a pregnancy - you either are or you aren't, it's either a yes or a no, and in this case I think it will stay a no and the people have spoken on that." 

Read more here.

1pm - A 2pm, we will get the official election results from the Electoral Commission. It could impact the allocation of seats for parties. 

It's a nervous wait for some politicians who are on the knife-edge.

Read more about who those MPs are here.

12:45pm - The Prime Minister has given a short speech after her swearing in as Prime Minister.

"It is my honour to be appointed as Prime Minister today and to serve alongside the new members of the Executive," she said.

"Taken as a team, this group of people have been described in public in many different ways. I'd say simply that sitting at this table is Aotearoa New Zealand - they collectively represent a range of different perspectives. They represent huge talent, they represent enormous experience, and as you would expect in any time of crisis, as New Zealanders, they have a huge commitment to serving this country."

Newshub political reporter Anna Bracewell-Worrall was there.

She tweeted: "Short speech from the PM, in which she says her ministers will govern during "one of the most difficult times in New Zealand history", that they will do so with "direction" and "purpose", and will "be a government for all New Zealanders".

12:10pm - Electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler has reflected on the departure of Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First which did not gain enough of the election vote to make it back to Parliament.

Edgeler noted Peters' absence at the swearing in ceremony of ministers at Government House in Wellington where Jacinda Ardern was sworn in for her second term as Prime Minister.

Peters was Deputy Prime Minister in the previous Government after Labour formed a coalition with NZ First in 2017. With NZ First out of the picture, Labour's Grant Robertson has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

"And with that, Winston Peters' long career in politics may be over, having just ceased to be the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand," Edgeler wrote on Twitter.

12pm - Jacinda Ardern has been sworn in as Prime Minister at Government House in Wellington, after Labour won the election by a landslide. She was sworn in along with her new Cabinet and ministers. 

Ministers say two oaths or affirmations, one is the oath or affirmation of allegiance which is to the Queen and the other is the Executive Councillors oath or affirmation which isn't to a person but more relates to their conduct in the role.

They have to be said in either English or Māori and they can choose to say it in another language in addition. Poto Williams said her allegiance in English and Cook Island Māori while Aupito William Sio said his in Samoan and English.

Oath of Allegiance:

I [name], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law, so help me God.

Executive Councillor's Oath:

I, [name], being chosen and admitted of the Executive Council of New Zealand, swear that I will to the best of my judgement, at all times, when thereto  required, freely give my counsel and advice to the Governor-General for the time being, for the good management of the affairs of New Zealand.  That I will not directly nor indirectly reveal such matters as shall be debated in Council and committed to my secrecy, but that I will in all things be a true and faithful Councillor, so help me God.

Affirmation of Allegiance:

I, [name] solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law.

Executive Councillor's Affirmation:

I, [name], being chosen and admitted of the Executive Council of New Zealand, solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm that I will to the best of my judgement, at all times, when thereto  required, freely give my counsel and advice to the Governor-General for the time being, for the good management of the affairs of New Zealand. That I will not directly nor indirectly reveal such matters as shall be debated in Council and committed to my secrecy, but that I will in all things be a true and faithful Councillor.

Jacinda Ardern is sworn in for her second term as Prime Minister at Government House in Wellington.
Jacinda Ardern is sworn in for her second term as Prime Minister at Government House in Wellington. Photo credit: Newshub

11:40am - With the world captivated by the US presidential election, it's easy to forget that our own election results are yet to be finalised - and some MPs are on a knife-edge.

The Electoral Commission announced the results of the New Zealand general election on October 17 - but those were just the preliminary results. The final results - including overseas voters and those who enrolled on Election Day - are yet to be confirmed. 

Read more about the candidates at risk of losing their electorates

11:30am - These are the electorates won by less than 1000 votes:

  • Auckland Central - currently held by the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick
  • Invercargill - currently held by National's Penny Simmonds
  • Maungakiekie - currently held by National's Denise Lee
  • Northland - currently held by National's Matt King
  • Tukituki - currently held by Labour's Anna Lork
  • Whangarei - currently held by National's Shane Reti
  • Tāmaki Makaurau - currently held by Labour's Peeni Henare
  • Waiariki - currently held by Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi

9:50am - National MP Shane Reti is anxiously awaiting the final election results to find out if he will keep his Whangārei seat, after preliminary results showed he won it by just 162 votes. 

"You have to prepare for every eventuality. Even if you have a slim margin, you never know where the special votes are going to take you," Dr Reti told Newshub. 

"I'm really proud to be the victor on the night but I do understand I have a slim margin and I do understand the special votes swing to the left so we need to wait and see where those cards fall."

Dr Reti said if he loses his seat he will continue to be National's MP based in Whangārei and he would carry on working hard for the people. 

"All being well, I would be the health spokesperson... and that would be a huge task for me as well. The future has planning in it regardless of which outcome."

National MP Shane Reti.
National MP Shane Reti. Photo credit: Getty

9:45am - Former National Party leader Simon Bridges is not convinced the special votes will flip the preliminary result for cannabis or euthanasia. 

 "I don't think either of them will change. I think the other thing is, the commentary that's like because it's been much more closer than euthanasia somehow that throws it into doubt. That's just nonsense," he told The AM Show. 

"It's like pregnancy - you either are or you aren't. It's either a yes or a no. In this case I think it will stay a 'no' and the people have spoken on that."

Labour MP David Parker agreed with Bridges. 

"I agree. But isn't it nice to reflect on the fact that we're a calm and peaceful nation. We've got a stable Government, COVID's under control, and we can have these debates about election results without it being so fierce."