Election 2023: Labour MPs begin packing up offices after shattering defeat - but Chris Hipkins' future still unclear

While National was filling up seats, Labour was filling up boxes as 31 MPs began packing up their offices.

The party only has two new Members of Parliament, while the 32 election survivors are considering what the future holds.

Farewell flowers were wheeled into Parliament, as Labour farewells the benches of power.

"We have to pack up and move offices, all of that practical stuff," said current Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

Sepuloni was one of many outgoing Ministers arriving at Wellington Airport to the reality of being in Opposition.

"Oh I don't think I've really processed it yet," said MP Deborah Russell, who based on the preliminary count would lose her New Lynn seat. "I think it's very soon after the election. We'll give it a bit of time to sink in."

"Oh well that's democracy as they say," added Willie Jackson.

Democracy destroyed Labour's majority by nearly half - 31 of its 65 MPs have been ousted.

"I'm really gutted for some of my colleagues but actually more so for the vulnerable communities and marginalised communities that need a left-wing Government," said MP for Taieri Ingrid Leary.

Sad for some, but strangely liberating for others.

"You might think I'm looking relaxed now because I felt a weight has been lifted off me at the same time," said Jan Tinetti, who failed to win Tauranga.

For one, it was the lifting of perks being mourned.

"The biggest thing for me was, you know, going into the Koru Lounge and then the red lights of doom go off because your Koru Club has been cancelled. All about moving from champagne to lemonade," said Dan Rosewarne.

There are only two newbies who'll go from lemonade to champagne - Cushla Tangaere-Manuel and Reuben Davidson.

"I think I'll be very energetic, very fresh, because I bring a lot fresh energy to it and absolutely ready to dig in and work really hard for Christchurch East," Davidson said.

His welcoming gift could be a leadership stoush with the focus now on Chris Hipkins.

When asked if Labour needs a new leader, deputy leader Kelvin Davis had this to say: "Oh we'll have those discussions over the course of the coming days but you know, we just have to wait and see."

Meanwhile Sepuloni wouldn't answer if she thought she'd make a good leader.

"I think I made a good Deputy Prime Minister," she told Newshub.

Labour campaign chair Megan Woods said "that question hasn't come up".

Other Opposition parties are arriving too in Parliament.

"We've been in Opposition since 1840 and we'll continue to get gains that we can in a space that really hasn't catered for Maori," said Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi.

"The funny thing about elections is they're over on the weekend and it's back to work Monday morning," added Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

A workplace that's completely different to what it was before the election.