This map shows the main parties’ performance on both the electorate and party vote in each general electorate. Read on below for a summary of the election result.
After a long and sometimes quirky campaign, the New Zealand election produced a mostly ‘status quo’ result. A centre-right government will be re-elected, and will probably include the same parties.
Overall, there was a slight swing towards the National Party and away from the Labour Party. There was also a swing to New Zealand First, and away from the Green Party.
On current numbers, the National Party has gained two seats, and New Zealand First has gained three seats. Labour has lost two seats, and the Greens have lost one.
Small parties United Future and ACT both held on to their sole electoral seat, but neither party polled at a level to win any list seats. United Future polled so little (less than Legalise Cannabis) that the party qualified for no seats at all – this resulted in the Parliament being expanded to 121.
The Māori Party lost two of its three electorate seats, but also won their first ever list seat, resulting in a net loss of one seat.
Overall, this result will give the National Party a majority of one seat in their own right, with 61 out of 121 seats. If this holds, this will be the first election since the introduction of MMP in 1996 to produce a single-party majority. The National Party is expected to continue governing with the support of ACT and United Future, and possibly the Māori Party, giving them 65 seats out of 121.
As it stands, all ‘advance’ (or prepoll) votes, as well as those cast on election day, have been counted. We’re still waiting for other special votes, such as absentee and postal votes, to be counted.
It is possible that the number of list seats won by each party could change slightly. At the moment, New Zealand First’s 12th candidate is ranked 122nd, and the Green Party’s 14th candidate is ranked 127th. If those parties increase their vote on special votes, they could conceivably win one more seat off National or Labour.
In addition, there is only one electorate seat where the result is still in play. The Wellington-area electorate of Hutt South is held by Labour MP Trevor Mallard, and he is leading National candidate Chris Bishop by about 1% of the vote. Bishop is guaranteed a seat on the National Party list, but if Mallard falls behind he will not be returned to Parliament, and instead another Labour list MP will retain their seat.
Read on for more analysis on how the vote varied between different regions, and Labour’s problem with winning electorate votes, but not party votes.
Overall, the result didn’t vary dramatically between regions.
Overall the National party vote increased by 0.7%. National suffered small swings in Auckland and Christchurch, but gained swings in the Wellington area and in other regions.
The Labour Party lost 2.8% nationally. The Labour vote increased slightly in Māori electorates, but dropped everywhere else. Labour’s party vote was hit hardest in Auckland, Wellington and those parts of the South Island outside of Christchurch. The swing against Labour in Christchurch was relatively small at 1.7%. The swing against the Green Party was smallest in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and was larger in seats outside of the three main urban areas.
New Zealand First increased its party vote by 2.25%. The swing was smallest at 1.55% in the Auckland area, and 1.95% in Wellington. New Zealand First gained a swing of 4.2% in the Māori electorates.
When you look at individual seats, there was a wide variety in terms of swings. Sitting National MPs gained swings of over 10% in Rangitata and Rodney. In the Labour seat of Hutt South, Chris Bishop gained a swing of 7.9%. No other seat had a swing to the National Party of over 6%.
In two seats, there were large swings against the National Party on the electorate vote. In Napier, where sitting National MP Chris Tremain is retiring, the National candidate suffered a swing of over 20%. In the safe National seat of Papakura on the outskirts of Auckland, former minister Judith Collins suffered an 11.8% swing.
Labour suffered large electorate vote swings in a number of seats. In the Maori electorate of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti , Labour suffered a 13.6% compared to the 2011 election, after the sitting MP died in 2013 and triggered a by-election won by Labour, but by a smaller margin. Labour suffered big swings of 8-10% in the strongly pro-Labour South Auckland electorates of Manukau East and Manurewa. On the other hand, Labour gained swings of 9% in Te Tai Tokerau, where the Labour candidate Kelvin Davis defeated Mana’s Hone Harawira, and 12.3% in Tariana Turia’s former seat of Te Tai Hauāuru.
Ironically, while Labour suffered their lowest party vote since 1922, the party gained net five electorate seats. Labour gained three more Māori electorates, as well as the National seat of Napier. In addition, Labour retained Port Hills, which had been redrawn as a notional National seat, and held on to the new electorate of Kelston. This created a problem for a number of senior Labour MPs. While the size of the total caucus was cut from 34 to 32, the party’s gain of five electorate seats means the party will only win five list seats, compared to twelve list seats in 2011. This will result in a number of Labour list MPs with reasonably high rankings losing their seats.
This result points to a deeper problem for Labour. The party has proven to be reasonably successful in winning electorates, while watching their party vote collapse. The Labour party vote fell to 24.7%, but they won 34% of the electorate vote.
Under the MMP system, there is no point for a party to win a large number of electorates if they can’t win enough party votes. Only with a large party vote can a party win power. Labour will need to find ways to focus its attention away from individual electorate candidates and on to winning party votes.