9:45pm – One more thing. Since the electorate seats seem to all have been determined, I’ve adjusted the colours of all general seats on my Google Earth map and will upload that right now, so that you can see the new distribution immediately.
9:40pm – I’m gonna finish up now. It appears that someone like Phil Goff is on track to be the next leader of the Labour Party. John Key should give his victory speech soon. One other point: with all electorate seats seemingly locked down, Labour seems to be entirely restricted to urban areas. All Labour general seats lie within Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, along with one seat in Palmerston North, a largely urban electorate surrounded by provincial electorates.
9:31pm – Helen Clark announces she will be resigning as Labour leader and expects a new leader by Christmas.
9:28pm – Helen Clark is currently conceding defeat to John Key. To sum up, with 99.8% of booths reporting, National is on track for 59 seats, Labour has won 43 seats, the Green Party have won 8, ACT 5, Maori Party 5, and one each for Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton.
8:13pm – We’re now seeing most of the results becoming clear. ACT and Maori Party will each win five seats, while Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton will each win their own seats but not bring in any list MPs. New Zealand First has been defeated. The Greens have won at least eight seats but I’m not ruling out a ninth. They are on 6.47%, while they won 9 seats with 7% in 2002. Considering that all of New Zealand First’s votes will go to waste, it should be easier for them to win that ninth seat this time. National should win 58-59 seats, while Labour will win 43-44. National will have the numbers to form a government with ACT and possibly Peter Dunne.
7:46pm – 32 of 46 booths reporting in Ohariu, and the lead remains the same, with Labour 2.8% behind. It seems unlikely there will be a change, although Dunne will be in a lot of danger in 2011.
7:43pm – More than 2/3s of the polling booths have reported their party votes, and Labour has gained a few more seats, up to 43. The Greens are up to 6.43%, what do they need to win a ninth seat?
7:32pm – This is the fifth election in NZ since the introduction of MMP. The first election saw almost one-third, 39 seats, go to minor parties. This fell to 32 in 1999, and increased to 33 in 2002. There was a big drop in 2005, with only 22 elected. At the moment, it appears that only 20 minor party MPs will be elected, and this could fall to as low as 18.
7:30pm – Most of the attention for minor parties in this campaign went to the Maori Party. Yet when you watch the results tonight, the Maori Party has still only polled 2% of the vote and appears to be gaining only one extra electorate seat. In contrast, ACT has gained three seats and the Greens have gained two, and may gain a third if this trend continues.
7:27pm – I’m ready to call that Labour will hold onto Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Hauraki-Waikato seats. The only two seats in question that could effect the overall numbers are Ohariu and Te Tai Tonga, where Peter Dunne and the Maori Party respectively are narrowly leading over Labour.
7:22pm – There has been a large jump in the count in Ohariu, with 24 of 46 booths reporting. National has fallen back, with Dunne on 32.5% and Labour on 30.5%.
7:15pm – I’ve already stopped following Tauranga, Epsom and Mangere, and I’m going to add Wigram to that list, where Anderton is now leading by 14%. I’m on the verge of calling Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Hauraki-Waikato for Labour. The Maori Party is falling back to earth in Te Tai Tonga, where their lead is now less than 3%.
7:12pm – We’re starting to see clear trends. Greens and ACT gain seats, NZF wiped out, Maori Party looking at 5 seats in Parliament, and Jim Anderton holding his one seat. Labour have lost seats and National are no track to form government with ACT. The most interesting contest is Ohariu, where Peter Dunne is in a fierce race with both major parties. If he loses, it will be the end of his party.
6:57pm – Ohariu is shaping into the most clearcut three-horse race ever. National has retaken second position, and Dunne leads by 3.1% with 9 of 46 counted. Ohariu is on the outskirts of Wellington, and presumably the more urban booths are yet to come in, and will favour Labour.
6:55pm – As far as the key electorates, Rodney Hide is well in front in Epsom. National will win Tauranga. In Wigram, Jim Anderton is leading by 12% and is out of danger. Peter Dunne in Ohariu is only 2.9% ahead of Labour and could be in danger. The Maori Party look on track to win Te Tai Tonga, although the race has narrowed. They are falling further behind in the other two Labour-held Maori seats.
6:52pm – NZF is fading in the party vote, down to 4.3%, and has no chance in Tauranga. It’s looking all over for Winston.
6:49pm – Both ACT and the Greens are gaining ground in the party vote, and ACT has just ticked over from four seats to five.
6:48pm – In Peter Dunne’s seat of Ohariu, Labour has overtaken National and are now within 3 points of Dunne. Could this be the end of the road for New Zealand First AND United Future?
6:44pm – Maori lead in Te Tai Tonga is narrowing, down to 6 points, after peaking at 10 points. In Ikaroa-Rawhiti Labour is now ahead by 10 points, but Hauraki-Waikato has narrowed to four points.
6:40pm – Greens picking up support in the party vote. They had fallen to 6.1% but are back up to almost 6.3%.
6:38pm – Although very few votes have been counted in the key minor party seats, 13% of booths have reported the party vote. National, on 62 seats, has a slim majority in a 122-seat chamber, and a more solid majority with 67 for National-ACT-UF.
6:18pm – A few more votes registered in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Labour has increased its lead from 50-44 to 51-43.
6:09pm – New Zealand First is performing quite well on the party vote, but the vote is starting to drift downwards. It’s too early to say that NZF will return, and if NZF manage to return and the Maori Party gain all seven seats, then it will be harder for NAT/ACT to form a majority.
6:08pm – It appears that the count has slowed down in the key electorates. The only progress has been in Te Tai Tonga, where the gap is down to eight points, with Labour gaining 2%.
6:06pm – It appears very unlikely that Labour will form a government, although current projections of National winning a majority are unlikely to hold up.
6:02pm – In the party vote, with 5.9% counted, leans towards a National majority government. National has 48.7%, Labour 31.5%, Greens 6.2%, Maori 2.1%, ACT 3.3%, NZF on 4.6%, and Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne on track to be the sole MPs for their parties.
6:01pm – The Maori Party is strongly ahead in their four current seats. In the other three, the party is leading 47-37 in Te Tai Tonga (South Island) and trailing by 6% in the other two seats.
5:54pm – Jim Anderton is on 40% in Wigram, with National on 32%.
5:53pm – Rodney Hide is miles ahead in Epsom, polling over 60% with one booth in.
5:51pm – In Ohariu, UF leader Peter Dunne is only just ahead of Labour and National with two booths in. Dunne has 33%, with National on 28% and Labour on 27%.
5:49pm – Antony Green has pointed out that Labour gained 4%, National lost 4.5%, the Greens went up slightly and NZF went down slightly between the end of the counting of advance votes (which is where we are now) and the final count.
5:47pm – In Tauranga, with 2 of 38 booths counted, Simon Bridges of the National Party is on 61% with Winston Peters on 23%. It’s early, but not looking good.
5:41pm – Sorry about the delay. I’m onboard now. I suggest for more coverage you take a look at Pollbludger‘s coverage and Antony Green at the ABC. You can see raw results at the NZ elections website. I’ll come back in a minute with a summary of where we are at.
5:00pm – Polls just closed in New Zealand. I don’t know how long it will take before we start seeing results, but here we go…