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NZ election 2020: early results show Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party has commanding lead – live

Aotearoa has voted in an election dominated by Covid and early results show support collapsing for the opposition National Party. Follow results live:
Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern.
Key events Show
  • 8.37am BST08:37 The night so far: extraordinary election for Labour
  • 8.35am BST08:35 30% of votes counted: Labour ahead
  • 8.07am BST08:07 20% of votes counted: Labour ahead
  • 7.58am BST07:58 Nationals president says The National Party 'probably can't' win election
  • 7.51am BST07:51 15% of vote counted: Labour ahead
  • 7.40am BST07:40 Over 10% of results counted: Labour ahead
  • 7.35am BST07:35 State of the polling
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8.37am BST08:37

The night so far: extraordinary election for Labour

Just to sum up, tonight is developing into an absolutely extraordinary night for Labour.

It has been called a “bloodbath” for National.

Labour’s lead is not being eroded as more votes are counted, to the extent that the party is on the verge of being able to form government alone, something that hasn’t happened for any party in the country since New Zealand introduced its MMP voting system in 1996.

8.35am BST08:35

30% of votes counted: Labour ahead

Just under a third of votes have now been counted (in just 90 minutes) and Labour is still comfortably ahead with what is currently projected to be a historical 66 projected seats in parliament.

Helen Sullivan (@helenrsullivan)

A third of votes are counted and Labour is ahead with what would be a historical 66 projected seats, allowing it to govern alone for the first time since 1996 pic.twitter.com/itLw7XfvL6

October 17, 2020

8.33am BST08:33

Green Party Candidate for Auckland Chloe Swarbrick meets supporters during the Greens Party Election Function in Auckland, New Zealand

8.29am BST08:29

New Zealand has also voted on two key referendums this year – whether to legalise cannabis and whether to legalise euthanasia.

On the TV NZ, the public broadcaster, a commentator just reminded viewers that we won’t know the results of these referendums until 30 October.

So, she said, “you can put your jazz cabbage away” for now.

Helen Sullivan (@helenrsullivan)

TV NZ reminds people that the cannabis referendum results won't be out tonight so they can put their "jazz cabbage" away

October 17, 2020

8.26am BST08:26

Eleanor Ainge Roy (@EleanorAingeRoy)

The seriousness of this pic belies the fervent atmosphere of overall cheeriness - and more importantly - confidence at Labour HQ. pic.twitter.com/Kk47xhKqAa

October 17, 2020

8.25am BST08:25

Ben Raue

Ben Raue

The early trend suggests the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will not be returned to parliament.

His party, New Zealand First, which governed in coalition with Labour, has 2.3 % of the party vote with 23% counted. That’s way below the 5% needed.

Shane Jones, NZ First’s best electorate hope, is a distant third in the race for Northland and looks a forlorn chance even with just 15% of votes counted.

8.24am BST08:24

Ben Raue

Ben Raue

Jacinda Ardern won the seat of Mount Albert at a by-election in 2017 after nine years in Parliament as a Labour list MP.

She was re-elected at the general election in 2017 with 64.5% of the electorate vote, a whopping 40.3% margin over her National rival.

Right now she’s on almost 71% of the electorate vote, which translates to a 51-point margin over National list MP Melissa Lee.

8.22am BST08:22

And video of that arrival:

1 NEWS (@1NewsNZ)

.@actparty leader @dbseymour has arrived at his party's election night event in style: rocking up on a boat at Auckland's viaduct https://t.co/BffTYjtKJI #YourVote2020 pic.twitter.com/RkkxZKhMSU

October 17, 2020

8.21am BST08:21

Charlotte Graham-McLay

I’m not at the ACT party’s election night event, but I’m told the party leader, David Seymour, has just arrived by boat, pulling off his life jacket as he arrives.

Seymour is going to be one of the winners of the night. His Libertarian party has in the past been seen as faintly comedic, and so has he – but in the past couple of years he has got serious – coming across as almost an opposition leader-type figure during Covid-19 as National roiled with internal dysfunction.

And now he’s riding high – polling at more than 7%. He’s currently ACT’s only lawmaker in parliament but that will change after the election – on current polling, he’d have nine more MPs joining him.

Unfortunately for Seymour his natural coalition party, National, is not doing well.

You can read our profile of him here.

8.18am BST08:18

Charlotte Graham-McLay

The first MP to arrive at National party headquarters was Melissa Lee. She’s standing in Mt Albert against Jacinda Ardern, so it’s safe to say she won’t win her seat. But since she’s 16th on National’s list, she would scrape back into parliament on the numbers so far.

Melissa Lee speaks to RNZ’s deputy political editor Craig McCulloch.

“It’s early days,” she just told Radio New Zealand, of the result. Asked what a good result for National would be, she said “a good result is a good result.”

She also seemed to blame Covid-19 somewhat – Auckland only came out of the last restrictions of its second lockdown less than a fortnight ago and she pointed out that this has hampered campaigning for the city’s candidates.

Door knocking was barred until last month and they couldn’t have more than 100 people in a room until less than two weeks ago.

8.14am BST08:14

Eleanor Ainge Roy (@EleanorAingeRoy)

Hipster wedding or political party do’? Labour have a photo booth + funny hats pic.twitter.com/m3NF8chYAp

October 17, 2020
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