Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat

National's Tama Potaka has won the Hamilton West by-election.

Provisional results show Potaka on 6629 votes, ahead of Labour's Georgie Dansey on 4344 votes. They're followed by ACT's Dr James McDowall on 1462 votes and former MP Dr Gaurav Sharma on 1156 votes.

Advanced voting began for the seat on November 28, with Saturday, December 10, being the final day of voting. 

Official results - which include special votes and overseas votes - will be released on December 21.

Winner: National's Tama Potaka.

Percentage of vote counted: 100 percent. 

Margin between leader and next candidate: 2285 votes.

Newshub's live updates have now finished.

9:50pm - Here's a media statement from the Electoral Commission:

The Electoral Commission has released the preliminary results for the 10 December 2022 parliamentary by-election in the Hamilton West electorate.

The preliminary results are based on the 14,392 ordinary votes counted on election night.

Special declaration votes still to be counted are estimated to be 795 (5.2% of total votes).  This includes an estimated 57 overseas votes and 738 special votes taken within the electorate.

The total estimated votes (those counted on election night plus estimated special votes to be counted) are 15,187.

Voter turnout for the 2022 Hamilton West by-election is estimated to be 31.4% of the 48,358 enrolled prior to election day. That compares with 40.5% turnout at the Tauranga by-election in June, 43.9% at the Northcote by-election in 2018, 30.0% at the Mt Albert by-election in 2017 and 38.5% at the Mt Roskill by-election in 2016.

An estimated 68.1% of votes were cast in advance, excluding special votes.

The preliminary results are available at www.electionresults.govt.nz.

The official results process starts tomorrow Sunday 11 December. All votes counted on election night will be recounted. Special declaration votes will be processed and counted. The target to release the official results for the Hamilton West by-election is 5pm Wednesday 21 December. 

9:35pm - The former MP for Hamilton West Dr Gaurav Sharma has arrived at the National event to concede to Tama Potaka.

Dr Sharma says the results show there is "a lot of dissatisfaction with the people in terms of how the Government has been dealing with the issues". He says it is an "anti-Government vote".

He says he and his new party Momentum have done "really well" given the short timeframe.

Dr Sharma says he doesn't have any regrets. He says he "stood for my values". 

"The point of all of this was to make sure Hamilton has a Member of Parliament."

He is clapped as he enters the event.

Luxon says Dr Sharma "ran a good fight".

Dr Sharma says he has no intentions to join National and plans to run at the 2023 election.

9:30pm - National candidate Tama Potaka is heading to Wellington as the new MP for Hamilton West after winning today's by-election.

Labour's Georgie Dansey has now conceded in person to Potaka.

Read a recap of the night here.

9:15pm - Here are the provisional results from the Electoral Commission:

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat

9:05pm - Speaking to reporters, Luxon calls it a "fantastic victory" for National and Potaka.

He says Hamilton West voters have sent a message to the Government. Luxon believes change is coming, but the party won't be complacent. The Labour Party had a large majority in this seat, but National's been able to swing that through hard work, he says.

Luxon believes the public is over a Government that is "all spin and no delivery".

He rejects that calling National the underdog in this seat was "spin". 

"You never take anything for granted."

9pm - Here's what the ACT Party has to say about its result:

"The ACT Party keeps going from strength to strength with our Hamilton West candidate taking 10 per cent of the vote in the by-election," says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"James has been an outstanding candidate. This result shows real change is coming to New Zealand. It started in Tauranga with ACT on 10 per cent and now 10 per cent in Hamilton West. When it came to the party vote in 2020 Tauranga was ACT's 24th best electorate while Hamilton West was 44th. This is a great result for ACT. 

"ACT received 2.97 per cent in Hamilton West in 2020 for the candidate vote. To increase by this much shows just how strong ACT is.

"Our policies address New Zealanders concerns, like the cost of living, crime and the growing concern around co-government." 

"ACT sends our congratulation to National's Tama Potaka," says Dr McDowall. 

"I would like to thank the people of Hamilton West for their support. It's been great getting out and listening to your concerns and coming up with ideas to address them.

"I have listened and I will take those concerns back to Parliament. I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, and our amazing team of volunteers."

"This result leaves us very hopeful for the future of New Zealand and that real change is coming in 2023," says Mr Seymour.

8:55pm - With 100 percent of the vote in, National's Tama Potaka will become the Hamilton West MP. He is on 6629 votes, ahead of Labour's Georgie Dansey on 4344. ACT's Dr James McDowall is on 1462. Dr Gaurav Sharma is on 1156.

Official results will be declared on December 21 - that will include special and overseas votes.

8:45pm - Potaka has now taken the stage alongside his family. He thanks his whanau who have "helped me get here today". He says values like "personal responsibility", "being loyal to the country" and "recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi" drew him closer to being the candidate for National.

Potaka says he doesn't want to just talk about "ideology, momentum and kindness", but "actually to identify what needs to be done, work with people and get it done".

Potaka takes the stage.
Potaka takes the stage. Photo credit: Newshub.

8:40pm - Speaking to the crowd, Luxon says it is a "wonderful evening" and this is "an absolutely fantastic win". He thanks people who have contributed to the National campaign.

"It has been good practice for next year," Luxon said. "It is sending a message to the Government."

He says Kiwis want a Government that will "get things done". Labour sits in Wellington doing pet projects, like Three Waters and the TVNZ-RNZ merger, he says. Kiwis are focused on issues like the cost of living and whether they can see a doctor, the National leader says.

"It is an encouraging finish to the end of the year."

However, he says there is still a lot more work to do.

8:35pm - National leader Christopher Luxon has arrived at the National event in Hamilton West.

He says it is a "great result".

The crowd cheers "Tama" as the group walks into the event room.

Luxon and Potaka.
Luxon and Potaka. Photo credit: Newshub.

8:30pm - Dansey has arrived at the National event to concede. She congratulates him on his "excellent" campaign and says she is stoked tangata whenua is representing the elecorate. She looks forward to working with him.

She's "disappointed", she tells Newshub. 

"It's not something we didn't expect," she says, pointing to the low voter turnout and Christmas coming.

Dansey says one regret may be turning up to a university while Labour minister Andrew Little was being protested. She then say she doesn't actually think it hurt her campaign.

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat
Photo credit: Newshub.

8:25pm - It's understood Labour's Georgie Dansey is on her way to the National Party event to concede in person.

8:20pm - With 94.3 percent of the vote counted, Potaka leads by 1961 votes. He is on 6079 votes to Dansey's 4118.

He told Newshub: "We will see at the end of the evening. It is a wonderful reflection of where the hardworking people of Hamilton West want to take this electorate and this cit y. Forward and not backwards and not standing still.

"I am pretty happy."

8:15pm - We're at 30 of 45 booths counted. Potaka is at 5714 votes, 1867 ahead of Dansey. Potaka is on about 46 percent, compared to Dansey on about 31 percent.

8:10pm - With 27 of 35 voting booths counted - 77.1 percent - Potaka's lead has dropped very slightly from 1721 to 1702. He is on 5336 votes to Dansey's 3634.

8:05pm - We now have 24 of 35 voting booths counted. Potaka leads by 1721 votes. He sits on 5083 to Dansey's 3362. Dr McDowall is on 1099 and Dr Sharma is on 907.

8pm - With 60 percent of the vote counted, Potaka leads by 1588 votes. He sits on 4709 to Dansey's 3121. They're followed by Dr McDowall on 998 and Dr Sharma on 850.

7:55pm - Potaka said he wanted to be a highly engaged MP and be seen by constituents doing activities in the area. That included doing "press-ups". 

After being prompted by Newshub, Potaka dropped and did some press-ups.

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat
Photo credit: Newshub.

7:50pm - With 45.7 percent of the vote counted, Potaka leads by 1562 votes. He is on 4461 to Dansey's 2899. Dr McDowall is on 941 and Dr Sharma is on 795.

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat

7:46pm - National MP Chris Bishop has just taken to the stage at a National event.

He tells attendees that Potaka has a healthy lead with 43 percent of the vote counted. 

There are still about 20 booths to come in. Fifteen of 35 have reported.

Bishop says that National leader Christopher Luxon is on his way.

7:45pm - Potaka continues to extend his lead. There are now 40 percent of votes in and he leads 3909 votes to Dansey's 2524. That's a margin of 1385.

ACT's Dr McDowall is on 814, while Dr Sharma is on 674.

7:40pm - Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch was with Potaka when the first results came in. She showed him that he was in the lead.

"It is a long way to go. Hopefully it continues this evening. That's the main thing," a very relaxed Potaka told her.

7:35pm - With 31.4 percent of the vote counted, Potaka has extended his lead slightly. He is on 2689 votes to Dansey's 1871. Dr McDowall is on 560 and Dr Sharma is on 491.

7:32pm - The first results are out.

With 22.9 percent of votes counted, Potaka leads with 2076 votes, to Dansey's 1359. ACT's Dr McDowall follows on 414. Dr Sharama is on 362.

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat

7:30pm - While we wait for the results, here's a look at the early voting figures. Early voting in the Hamilton West by-election was well down on advance voting in the Tauranga by-election and on the 2020 general election.

Hamilton West by-election live updates, results: National, Labour, ACT, Gaurav Sharma fight for seat
Photo credit: Electoral Commission.

7:20pm - No election results are yet available. The election result webpage says they will be shared once 200 votes have been entered.

7:15pm - Labour earlier on Saturday deleted a Facebook post after a complaint that it possibly broke election day rules.

On election day, you cannot promote candidates or do anything to influence someone's vote.

The post was shared on Friday, so before election day rules kick in. It was posted on both the Labour Party page and the candidate's page.

Despite it being posted on Friday, the Electoral Commission still received a complaint. 

"We explained to the complainant that the posts were within the rules as they were published before election day," a spokesperson said.

"We followed up with the party to suggest that they disable comment functionality for the page or remove or unpublish the post until after 7pm tonight, to avoid their supporters commenting on or sharing the post on election day."

Labour then confirmed it deleted the post. 

"The candidate’s Facebook page had already been unpublished by the time we received the complaint," said the Electoral Commission.

7:05pm - The results for the Hamilton West by-election are about to stream in. 

But turnout is looking grim, with just 9800 voting in advance.

So Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch went on the hunt for the elusive Hamilton West voter. 

Watch the video here.

7pm - Kia ora, good evening, and welcome to Newshub's live updates of the Hamilton West by-election. We're anticipating the first bunch of votes very shortly. Voting booths have been opened since November 28 and have just closed.

Hamilton West is a bellweather seat meaning it swings with the mood of the country. While it's been held by a Labour MP since the 2020 election and Labour remains the largest party in Parliament, National has surpassed Labour in recent polls.

Polling in Hamilton West has shown the National candidate, Tama Potaka, leading. He's been followed by Labour's Georgie Dansey. Also in the mix is ACT's Dr James McDowall and the former MP Dr Gaurav Sharma. Dr Sharma's resignation from Parliament after falling out with Labour prompted the by-election.

Both National and Labour have been claiming to be the underdogs in this contest. National's pointed to Labour's current majority (though that came during the unusual landslide victory of 2020), while Labour's noted the drama that engulfed the party over Dr Sharma and that National's held the seat for most of the last decade.

The by-election is also being viewed as a litmus test for next year's general election. With Labour down in the polls and facing a storm of economic and social challenges, a win here would be a huge boost heading into election year. For National, riding high in the most recent Newshub-Reid Research poll, a loss would dampen end of year celebrations.