Election 2023: Chris Hipkins admits he's packed his boxes as he prepares to depart Prime Minister's office

Labour leader Chris Hipkins says he's packed his boxes and is ready to shift out of the Prime Minister's office, marking the end of his left-bloc party's six years in power. 

The outgoing Prime Minister said he's just waiting for the special votes to be counted to make the final move. 

Hipkins told AM he's been trying to keep busy over the past two weeks by fulfilling the role of caretaker Prime Minister. 

"We're all boxed up ready to go so we can't move until the new Government have sorted themselves out and figured out who the new Government's going to be," he said. "In the meantime, we just keep the home fires burning - there's still a bit of day-to-day business of Government that needs to be transacted." 

While he'll no longer be Prime Minister, Hipkins said he still had fight left in him. 

"I'm still pretty passionate about New Zealand and about New Zealand politics, and the Labour Party has always been very good to me, and I continue to be very committed to the New Zealand Labour Party." 

But whether he would be the long-term leader of the party remained unclear. 

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: AM

"I'm sure colleagues are speaking to each other," he said. "We've indicated that we'll get together again soon, once we've actually got the final vote count." 

As Labour's two terms in power draw to a close, Hipkins said now was a time to reflect. 

"Our review needs to be more than just a review of the election campaign - of course we will do that - but we'll also need to take some time, as a team, to reflect back on the six years we had in Government. 

"There's a lot we're proud of but... I think when you do find yourself in a period of Opposition, you do need to take that as an opportunity to reflect and to review and to renew and to refresh, and we need to do all those things. 

"That does mean looking back at our six years and saying, 'Well, there's a lot that we're proud of but what are the things that we'd do differently next time? What are the things that we need to do to prepare so that, should we be in Government three years from now, we're ready to go?'" 

Final election results will be known on Friday with the unveiling of special votes.