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Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

PoliticsNovember 3, 2023

Thirteen buzzy bits of trivia about the final election results

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

Once you’ve got your head around the top lines, delve into these nifty details from the final count.

1. In the three electorates won by their candidates, the Greens got more party votes than Labour. In Chlöe Swarbrick’s Auckland Central, that was 23.97%, well below National’s 33.13% but a whisker (475 votes, in fact) above Labour’s share. But in Wellington Central and Rongotai, where Tamatha Paul and Julie Anne Genter won seats, the Greens won the party vote – something that’s never happened in any electorate, as far as we can tell. In Rongotai it was close, with just 303 more Green votes than Labour ones, but in Wellington Central the Greens nabbed 37.68% to Labour’s 24.86%. That new door-knocking strategy clearly paid off. (They didn’t beat Labour, but the Greens also did very well in Dunedin, gaining 26.85% of the party vote, a bigger share than National.)

Wellington Central: huge Green energy

2. At 123 seats (after the Port Waikato byelection on November 25), this is the biggest parliament ever. Before now, 2008’s 122-seat parliament had been the largest. Will someone have to drag in a camp chair?

3. National’s Mark Mitchell took the honour of the biggest electorate majority in Whangaparāoa, with a 23,376 margin over the runner-up, Labour’s Estefania Muller Pallarès. Mitchell’s total saw a decent rise from a 19,300 margin in the preliminary results. This tops even Jacinda Ardern’s mammoth majority in Mt Albert in 2020, when the red wave saw the Labour leader romp home with a 21,246 majority over National’s Melissa Lee. 

4. Speaking of which, how things change. While Labour’s Helen White held on to Mt Albert, it really was by the skin of her teeth, with that 21,246 majority shrinking to just 20 over Melissa Lee. Yep, 20 votes. National leader Christopher Luxon has confirmed Lee (who’s in on the list anyway) will be seeking a recount there, as the party will also do in Nelson, where Blair Cameron’s 54-vote majority turned into a 29-vote one for the incumbent, Labour’s Rachel Boyack.

Helen White maintains she is ‘really, really proud’ of her result. (Image: Joel MacManus, Design Archi Banal)

5. That 20-vote margin is not the smallest, however – that honour goes to Takutai Tarsh Kemp of Te Pāti Māori, who has taken Tāmaki Makaurau off Labour’s Peeni Henare with a majority of just four. It remains to be seen if Henare will request a recount – he would still enter parliament on the list.

6. Speaking of the Māori seats, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi of Te Pāti Māori picked up more than 1,000 special votes in Te Tai Tokerau, flipping Kelvin Davis’s 487-vote majority to a 517-majority for herself. Davis will also enter parliament on the list.

7. With the two that flipped today, Labour now holds just one of the Māori seats – Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, which Cushla Tangaere-Manuel took off an incumbent who had defected from Labour to Te Pāti Māori (Meka Whaitiri). It’s the fewest Māori electorates Labour has held since NZ First took all seven in the first MMP election in 1996.

a Māori woman with a red jacket and white shirt and a moko kauae smiling on a funky background
Cushla Tangaere-Manuel (Photo: Supplied; design by Tina Tiller)

8. While Luxon’s 16,337 majority in the Botany electorate doesn’t come close to Mark Mitchell’s in Whangaparāoa (see 3), the new prime minister can boast that National got its biggest share of the party vote on his home turf, with 58.74% voting blue in Botany. But that’s still not as big a share as Labour got in Māngere, where 60.72% of voters ticked Labour. There are anomalous pockets in blue Botany too, which takes in parts of South Auckland. In one voting place in Clover Park, 74% voted for Labour and just 12.7% for National.

9. It’s hard to deny the Auckland-punishing-Labour theory when you look at their share in other electorates, however. While the party managed to top 20% in Botany, no doubt thanks to those aforementioned anomalous pockets, in other Auckland electorates Labour dropped below 15%, even managing to dip lower than their preliminary results. In Epsom and East Coast Bays, Labour managed just 14.62%, while it nudged just above the 15% mark in Whangaparāoa. That’s pretty striking when you consider that in 2020, Labour won the party vote in every single electorate bar Epsom.

10. Three parties in parliament saw their highest-ever results: the Greens (11.60%), Act (8.64%) and Te Pāti Māori (3.08%). We’ve covered the areas where the Greens did well (see 1), but what about the other two? Act had a pretty good showing in the Auckland seats its candidates won – Epsom 12.40% and Tāmaki 12.36% – but it did even better in rural New Zealand. Running Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard in the Rangitīkei seat paid off, as Act gained 13.65% of the party vote there. It also got above 13% in Southland, Taranaki King-Country and West Coast-Tasman. No surprises that Te Pāti Māori did well in the Māori electorates, with its best result in Waiariki (37.60%). Labour still won the party vote in all seven Māori seats, however.

Leighton Baker, whose party saw a massive 0.01% surge (Supplied)

11. If there was no 5% threshold, The Opportunities Party would have three seats in parliament, and New Zealand Loyal, NewZeal and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis would each get one. Speaking of the minnows, the specials gave Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis a 0.06% boost, taking them from 0.39 to 0.45%. New Zealand Loyal also got a wee lift, going from 1.15% to 1.20%. Down at the very bottom of the list, the Leighton Baker Party inched just past the Women’s Rights Party – the pair were tied on 0.08% on the preliminary results, but Leighton and pals nudged up to 0.09% on the specials. New Nation added 328 votes to its haul, but it wasn’t enough to lift it above last place and 0.05% of the vote.*

12. National won the party vote in Hutt South by a slim 685 votes, which continues its streak of picking the winner of the general election for a ninth straight election.

13. The Christchurch electorate of Selwyn saw the highest voter turnout at 85.69%, even though it wasn’t a close race at all – National’s Nicola Grigg won by 19,782 votes. Selwynites must absolutely love democracy, as it had the highest turnout in 2020 too – an impressive 89.39%.

*The week following the release of the special votes, the discovery of Electoral Commission vote-counting errors resulted in the final party totals being revised. The Women’s Rights Party ended up above the Leighton Baker Party, on 0.08%, with LBP on 0.07%.

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