We’re two hours away from the special votes being released and the overall election outcome being made public.
Find our full explainer on what we can expect at 2pm here – or read on for the seats sitting on a knife edge.
It’s been one of the safest Labour seats in the country for more than 20 years, but this West Auckland seat is currently the closest race out of any electorate. Long-serving MP Phil Twyford has had his 11,000 vote majority destroyed and, on election night, lost the seat by just 30 votes.
Twyford has held the seat since 2011 but given his low list ranking would be turfed out of parliament if he doesn’t sneak back in this afternoon. He’s up against newcomer Angee Nicholas from National, who is also too far down the list to make it into parliament without the win.
Nelson was always expected to be close, but was it expected to be 54 votes close? Probably not. This was seen by some as National territory, the former seat of the town’s current mayor Nick Smith. In that regard, and given the closeness of the races in many seats Labour was expected to triumph in, the fact that Rachel Boyack trails National’s Blair Cameron by such a slim margin is a fairly remarkable showing.
Just 83 votes separate National newcomer Vanessa Weenink and sitting Labour MP Tracey McLellan in what was one of the tightest races of election night. This is a relatively new electorate. While it was formed initially in the 1990s, it was replaced by the seat of Port Hills between 2008 and 2020. Labour’s Ruth Dyson held both between 1999 and 2020 (when McLellan won). If the special votes favour Labour, this seat could easily flip back to McLellan.
The former seat of prime ministers Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern, along with Labour leader David Shearer, Mount Albert is the strongest of Labour strongholds. At least it was until October 14 when first-term MP Helen White spent much of the night trailing National’s Melissa Lee. At the final hurdle, she jumped ahead by just 106 votes – well within the margin of error.
If White doesn’t hold on, that could be the end of her short-lived political career. With a loss so unexpected, it would be hard to see her making a comeback at the next election.
On the preliminary count, Labour’s Deborah Russell is out of her electorate (she’s in on the provisional list) and National newcomer Paulo Garcia is in. The margin is roughly 400 votes, which might be just too much for Russell to claw back unless the specials err heavily towards Labour. This was another surprising result – New Lynn has been a safe haven for Labour since the 1960s (though, when it was briefly folded into Titirangi in the 1990s, it went to National just once).
Te Tai Tokerau
Te Pāti Māori exceeded expectations on election night, picking up four of the seven Māori seats including shock wins in Hauraki-Waikato (where Nanaia Mahuta lost) and Te Tai Tonga. In Te Tai Tokerau, the party will be gunning to pick up a fifth seat.
On the preliminary count, high-profile Labour MP – and the party’s deputy – Kelvin Davis is leading by roughly 400 votes over Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. Unlike the previous electorates on this list, which are all National v Labour battles, this is a competition between two parties heading into opposition. But what makes it interesting is the overhang aspect discussed earlier and the fact that if Te Pāti Māori wins, it will pick up an additional seat and could increase the overall total in the House once again.
It’s a similar situation in the sweeping Auckland seat of Tāmaki Makaurau, where Labour’s Peeni Henare holds a 500-ish vote lead over Takutai Tarsh Kemp. This hasn’t been the safest of seats for Labour (Henare beat John Tamihere in 2020 by just over 1,000 votes), but the closeness of the race was still a surprise. Henare’s profile has increased over the past term and there has been talk of him becoming a future party leader. This is one to watch.