Election 2023 final results: Special votes revealed, reaction, analysis

The final election results have been released by the Electoral Commission, bringing an end to three weeks of nervous waiting for political candidates.

On final results, National and ACT have 59 seats - not enough to govern alone. 

Final results:

NATIONAL: 38.06 percent/48 seats (down 2 from election night) 

LABOUR: 26.91 percent/34 seats

GREENS: 11.6 percent/15 seats (up 1)

ACT: 8.64 percent/11 seats

NZF: 6.08 percent/8 seats 

TPM: 3.08 percent/6 seats (up 2).

This article is no longer being updated - more on Newshub Live at 6pm.

4:45pm - To recap today's developments, the final vote count has spelled out the return of Winston Peters as Parliament's kingmaker.

National and ACT no longer hold a majority of the Parliament between them and, therefore, need Peters' New Zealand First's eight seats to form a Government. 

The Nats lost two seats on final vote count, leaving its alliance with ACT on 59 - three shy of what they needed.

Parliament's threshold increased from 61 to 62 seats because Te Pāti Māori flipped two electorates, creating an overhang and increasing the size of the Parliament to 122 MPs.

Looking at other seats that have flipped from election night, Phil Twyford is back in Parliament as is Rachel Boyack, with the two Labour MPs taking Te Atatū and Nelson from National.

4:30pm - Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon earlier told reporters "big questions" will be asked of the Electoral Commission after the "challenges" on election day.

Read more here.

4:27pm - Newshub has launched the 'coalition cauli' to see if it will survive longer than it takes for parties to form a Government.

4:12pm - Speaking to reporters earlier, National leader Christopher Luxon categorically ruled out the prospect of a second election.

He says it's good to have clarity now the final votes are counted.

"Now we can get cracking."

4pm - In a statement, Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said the party gaining its largest-ever vote share meant it could "lead the ongoing fight to eliminate poverty, honour Te Tiriti, protect nature and build a climate-resilient future for our mokopuna.

"Central to this will be the biggest Māori and Pasifika caucus we have ever had. Half our caucus is now Māori and Pasifika, which is a huge step forward for us.

"We are also proud to be joined by the first Member of Parliament in Aotearoa who is Vietnamese.

"It is a huge honour to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with such a strong group of Māori and Pasifika voices who bring to Parliament a vast range of experiences, knowledge and skills."

3:36pm - Speaking to The Platform, NZ First leader Winston Peters says coalition negotiations have to be dealt with "as fast as we possibly can".

"To go forward, we've got to say, 'Well, what can we agree on? And what can we put aside? Because we can't all get what we want," he said.

"In the major sense, we have to get a sound, much, much better Government underway.

"Frankly we've got... a cause to unite on this matter and we've got to put our differences aside and that's the nature of politics," Peters tells The Platform.

3:27pm - A Labour minister has had their electorate seat snatched off them by the slimmest of margins.

Tāmaki Makaurau has been won by Te Pāti Māori candidate Takutai Tarsh Kemp by just four votes over the Labour's Peeni Henare. 

Speaking to media earlier, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said Henare had his support should he wish to call for a recount.

Read more here.

3:22pm - Christopher Luxon's press conference has now concluded.

3:12pm - The ACT Party is also hailing its "greatest ever election result".

"With the results now final, we can continue our work to form a stable and united Government to address the many challenges New Zealand faces," leader David Seymour said in a statement.

"We're committed to forming the stable and united Government that New Zealanders need and have voted for. We have had productive discussions with National already and we expect negotiations to be carried out in a timely manner so New Zealanders can have a Government working for them as soon as possible."

3:01pm - National leader Christopher Luxon is speaking now - watch his remarks live in the video above.

He's confirmed the party is considering recounts in the Mt Albert (20 votes behind) and Nelson (29 votes behind) electorates, given the narrow margins.

Christopher Luxon.
Luxon. Photo credit: Jamie Ensor/Newshub.

2:57pm - After securing 15 seats in Parliament, the Green Party says it will "lead the ongoing fight to eliminate poverty, honour Te Tiriti, protect nature and build a climate-resilient future for our mokopuna".

2:49pm - Chris Hipkins has finished speaking now and we'll now move on to National leader Christopher Luxon, who's due to address media at 3pm. You can watch that live in the video above.

2:42pm - Outgoing Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has told reporters he still has fight in him and being Labour leader is a job he "enjoys".

He says the party will "rebuild support" after the election results and promises to hold the incoming Government to account.

2:32pm - Labour leader Chris Hipkins is speaking now - watch his remarks live in the video above.

"The new Labour team will be a formidable Opposition, who will proudly stand on the Government's record over the past six years and hold the expected three-party governing arrangement to account," he said in a statement released alongside the press conference.

"We've got great talent and experience in our team, including a number of former ministers, and we plan to work hard to win back the confidence of more New Zealanders over the next three years.

"Labour's careful economic management is seeing the economy turn a corner, inflation and food prices coming down, low unemployment and growing wages. We've made inroads in important areas like climate change and child poverty."

Chris Hipkins.
Hipkins. Photo credit: Jamie Ensor/Newshub.

2:27pm - The final results have confirmed National winning the seat of New Lynn for the first time, with Paulo Garcia (39.99 percent) defeating Labour's Deborah Russell (37.36 percent).

2:17pm - Labour leader Chris Hipkins is speaking to the media at 2:30pm - you can watch that live in the video above.

2:14pm - Also hailing its final election result is the Green Party.

"The people of Aotearoa voted for the strongest ever Green voice in our House of Representatives this election," MP Golriz Ghahraman said on X.

"Best result EVER!" said co-leader James Shaw.

2:12pm - The Māori Party is celebrating the most successful election result in its history.

"Te Pāti Māori will honour the unified support of Tangata Whenua by holding this incoming Government to account, as it threatens to attack the Te Tiriti relationship and undo the progress our people have fought so hard to achieve," the party said in a statement.

"We will fight for oranga whenua and oranga whānau and to realise our tino rangatiratanga as Tangata Whenua. Our people will no longer accept crumbs from Pākehā parties."

2:07pm - There were 2,883,412 votes cast overall, including 603,257 special votes, the Electoral Commission says. The turnout of people who were enrolled to vote was 78.2 percent.

2:04pm - Looking at the electorates, Labour's Rachel Boyack won in Nelson by 29 votes. On the preliminary results, National's Blair Cameron was ahead there.

National's lead in Te Atatū has also evaporated, with former Labour minister Phil Twyford winning by 131 votes. 

All other electorate candidates who were leading on the night have been confirmed as winning. That includes National's Vanessa Weenink in Banks Peninsula and Helen White in Mt Albert.

2:01pm - As Te Pāti Māori now has more electorates than the number of seats it is entitled to from its party vote, it will cause an overhang in Parliament - taking the total number of seats in Parliament initially to 122 seats.

This means a Government will need 62 seats in Parliament to form a Government - three more than National and ACT has. 

One further seat will be added to Parliament after the Port Waikato by-election in November, taking the total to 123 seats.

2pm - National has lost two seats from election night meaning it and ACT will require NZ First to form a Government, the Electoral Commission's final results show.

Meanwhile, Te Pāti Māori has picked up another two seats the Greens have gained one.

Read more here.

1:45pm - The nerve-wracking wait for the official election results will come to an end in 15 minutes, revealing exactly how New Zealanders have voted and how the next Parliament will look.

While it's clear Kiwis have voted for a shift to the right, and National is in prime position to lead the next Government, the inclusion of the roughly 570,000 special votes could lead to some small - but significant - changes to the number of MPs each party has.

There are also several electorates that remain too close to call.

Read more here.

1:30pm - It's nearly show time! We're half an hour away from finding out the final results of election 2023. Below is a rough schedule of how things will play out: 

  • 2pm - Final numbers will start filtering into this article but you can go here for live results. There's also a Newshub breaking special which you can watch live on Three or stream in the video above
  • 2:30pm - Respective party leaders including Chris Hipkins and Christopher Luxon will be holding media stand-ups - both of which you can watch in the video above.

1:12pm - Last month's election results meant multiple high-profile Labour MPs and former senior ministers wouldn't be returning to Parliament - ruled out even before the counting of special votes.

Read more here.

1pm - Earlier this week, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said he'd packed his boxes and was ready to leave the Prime Minister's office - marking the end of his left-bloc party's six years in power.

The outgoing Prime Minister said he was just waiting for the special votes - to be unveiled shortly - before making the final move.

Read more here.

12:57pm - A leading economist has warned National's promised tax cuts were no certainty to happen after it forms a Government, given the state of New Zealand's economy.

Read more here.

12:43pm - Political commentator and former MP Peter Dunne didn't expect Chris Hipkins to remain Labour leader long-term.

Dunne also expected other senior Labour MPs would be on their way out of politics.

Read more here.

12:27pm - Winston Peters returned to Parliament just more than a fortnight ago, hosting his first caucus meeting of the new Parliament with a host of new MPs.

But anyone hoping for some insights into what he wanted in exchange for his support in the Government was left wondering - as the stalwart of New Zealand politics didn't utter a word.

Political editor Jenna Lynch reports.

12:10pm - Both incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and ACT leader David Seymour have promised to release their coalition agreement to the public when in a position to do so.

"I think we should make those coalition agreements publicly available," National leader Luxon told AM last week. "I think that's important but, again, at the moment my focus is on forming a strong, stable Government."

11:50am - The New Zealand First and ACT leaders, Winston Peters and David Seymour, have a testy relationship. But they may have to work together depending on the final results delivered on Friday afternoon.

Newshub has looked back at some of the meanest tweets the pair have levelled at each other over the years.

Read about that here.

11:40am - As mentioned below, there are a number of electorates we are keeping an eye on because they are so close.

Of most interest are Te Atatū (30 vote margin), Nelson (54 vote margin), Banks Peninsula (83 vote margin) and Mt Albert (106 vote margin).

But there are several others - including two Māori electorates - that could shift as well.

Find my breakdown from earlier in the week here.

11:25am - The three parties - National, ACT, and NZ First - that have been involved in coalition discussions have remained fairly quiet about what they have discussed.

National leader and incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has said the focus has been on relationship building while the special vote count has been underway.

On Wednesday, ACT's David Seymour told Newshub that a potential Government deal will "rely on cooperation between three parties".

"We have been open and reached out to all parties, we've had different results in terms of the negotiations that we've done so far but we think it's possible to get a deal next week."

That confirmed that ACT has contacted NZ First, but as Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch reported, it may also mean that ACT hasn't been successful in setting up a meeting with Winston Peters' party.

In 2017, when NZ First held the balance of power, it only negotiated with Labour. There were no discussions between NZ First and Labour's other Government partner, the Greens. 

Will David Seymour and Winston Peters have to work together?
Will David Seymour and Winston Peters have to work together? Photo credit: Newshub.

11am - Kia ora, good morning and welcome to Newshub's live updates. 

Friday marks the end of a very long, three-week wait for the final election results. These are incredibly significant given National and ACT have a slim one-vote majority to form a Government on the preliminary results. 

Should National lose a seat or two (as it has in past elections) when the special votes come in, the duo will need the help of New Zealand First to form a Government. It's expected NZ First will be brought into the tent regardless as a one-seat majority in a Government is very risky - one by-election loss and there goes the power. But if NZ First is not just wanted, but needed, it increases Winston Peters' leverage massively. 

Beyond the party results, we will be carefully watching several electorates. Te Atatū is currently the closest electorate on the preliminary results with National's Angee Nicholas just 30 votes ahead of former Labour minister Phil Twyford. Nelson and Banks Peninsula are also very tight, while shockingly, the Labour stronghold of Mt Albert could potentially go blue. 

While the result in these general electorates won't have any major impact on the next Government, it will influence who is in and out for each party. The more electorates a party wins, the fewer list seats it gets. 

The Māori electorates could also have big repercussions. If Te Pāti Māori were to win any more than it currently has locked up, it could extend an overhang in Parliament. That's because it could win more electorate seats than its party vote entitles it to. What that means is the number of seats in Parliament increases. 

Why is that significant? Well, the more seats in Parliament, the more seats a Government needs to have a majority. If all of a sudden, there are 122 seats in Parliament, parties will need more than 61 seats (what National and ACT currently have) to have a majority and form a Government. 

We will have the results at 2pm. It's going to be a massive day.