There will be 123 seats in the new Parliament, after Te Pāti Māori won six of the seven Māori seats and created an overhang, according to the final election results released on Friday afternoon.

That means parties need 62 seats to form a government, putting a National/Act government firmly out of reach. On the final results, the two parties have dropped from 61 seats to 59, with National losing two to the left-wing parties. Te Pāti Māori and the Greens were the winners, picking up two and one seat, respectively. No other parties saw a change in their seat numbers on the final ballot.

Christopher Luxon will need to work with New Zealand First and Act to form a government in the coming weeks. The coalition, if it can be agreed, will tally up to 67 seats, with Winston Peters’ eight included.

Labour remains on 34, although it has managed to retain the Te Atatū and Nelson electorates which had gone blue on preliminary results, while losing Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau to Te Pāti Māori. With six seats, Te Pāti Māori has set a new record for Parliamentary representation this election, as have the Greens with their 15.

Close results against Labour in New Lynn, Banks Peninsula and Rongotai have held through in the final results, although Helen White has managed to hold onto Mt Albert for the party by 20 votes.

This marks the first time since the creation of the New Lynn seat that Labour has lost it.

Tāmaki Makaurau, at least, may well see a request for a recount from Labour’s Peeni Henare, given the margin there is just four votes. The next closest margins were in Mt Albert and in Nelson, where Labour’s Rachel Boyack has held the seat by 29.

In Te Atatū, Phil Twyford’s 131 votes are likely strong enough to withstand any recount, and Labour’s deputy leader Kelvin Davis has resoundingly lost his Te Tai Tokerau seat by more than 500 votes.

On November 25, voters in the Port Waikato electorate will go to the polls to select a new local MP, after the candidate race was cancelled because of the death of Act’s contender just days before the election. It’s expected that National’s Andrew Bayly will retain this seat, therefore bringing newcomer Nancy Lu off the party’s list. The by-election isn’t expected to change the shape of the next government.

Overall, voter turnout declined to 78.2 percent from 82.2 percent in 2020 and 79.8 percent in 2017.

Though the special votes did lean left this election as in the past, Labour received no benefit from this. The party won 26.9 percent of preliminary votes and the exact same proportion of the specials.

Instead, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori reaped the special vote advantage. Though 10.8 percent of the preliminary vote went to the Greens, the party won 14.8 percent of the specials. Te Pāti Māori improved their 2.6 percent showing in the preliminary vote to 4.9 percent in the specials.

National, Act and New Zealand First all fared worse in the special votes than on election night. National dropped from 40 percent on preliminary to 34.7 percent in the specials, Act fell from 9 percent to 7.4 percent and NZ First fell from 6.5 percent to 4.7 percent.

The specials made up 21 percent of the overall vote, compared with 17 percent in the past two elections.

That means National dropped 0.9 percent in the final results from its election night tally, Labour stayed the same, the Greens gained 0.8 percent, Act and NZ First each dropped 0.4 percent and Te Pāti Māori gained 0.5 percent.

Parties that didn’t make it into Parliament gained 0.3 percent, with the total “wasted” vote adding up to 5.3 percent.

Christopher Luxon said National had been in discussions with both New Zealand First and Act since election night and the next step was to get all three together in a room.

He said there had been “tremendous progress” so far but could not commit to timing on a final government.

“I’ll take as long as it takes to get strong and stable government for New Zealand”.

“We understand the country wants certainty… but we need to get good agreements.”

He said he had spoken to both parties since the result had been finalised and was confident negotiations would now move forward despite the prospect of some electorates being recounted.

“We can move forward on this basis, the party vote scenario is very clear for us.”

He said until the final look of the government was revealed he would not give any detail around what policies were on the table.

Act leader David Seymour hoped an arrangement between the three parties would be ironed out within a “matter of days”.

“We’ve worked very hard with the Nats, we’ve reached out to New Zealand First in the past three weeks and we hope we’re going to be able to have a rapid and productive discussion about how the three parties can work together.”

He said today’s result was always the most likely outcome.

“We anticipate that we will sit down with all three parties I expect at some point next week. We’ve also reached out separately to New Zealand First and we’ll continue to do that as well because ultimately the voters have asked three parties to work together.

He said Act had not heard from New Zealand First at all so far but they “welcomed conversation”.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has promised to form a “formidable opposition”, despite the result and reiterated he’s “still got a bit of fight left”.

He said there would likely be recounts in close electorates adding he would support Peeni Henare if he wanted to do so for Tāmaki Makaurau.

“I’ve had a brief conversation with Peeni but I indicated to him if he wants to call for a recount he’ll have my full support to do that. I think everyone will understand he’s disappointed to have seen the numbers… and if he wants to call for a recount, he’d have my absolute support to do that.”

He said the loss of Māori electorates to Te Pāti Māori did not necessarily mean Labour had lost support from Māori.

“There will be plenty of time to go through this but it could well have been that Māori voters were trying to strengthen the overall number of Māori in Parliament by giving one vote to the Māori Party and one vote to the Labour Party.

“If you look at the party vote numbers, they showed that actually there was strong support for Labour amongst Māori voters.”

Marc Daalder is a senior political reporter based in Wellington who covers climate change, health, energy and violent extremism. Twitter/Bluesky: @marcdaalder

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