What to look out for tonight

For those interested, this is what I will be looking out for tonight. First it is important to note that different parties will do better at different parts of the count. My expectations based on experience and polling are:

  • Advance votes. I expect these to more heavily favour Labour than later votes. Those who were voting on how Jacinda handled Covid-19 didn’t need to wait for the final leader’s debate etc. So I expect the votes that come in before 8.30 pm to be good for Labour
  • Early booths. Smaller booths tend to report quicker than larger booths. Smaller booths tend to be in more rural areas which favour National, so after the advance votes are in, you may get some results which are relatively better for National.
  • Final booths. The last booths to report tend to be the huge central city booths that favour Labour and Greens. So expect to see them start to do even better later in the night.
  • Specials. These will not be counted on the night, but normally the specials favour Labour and the Greens, so you could see one or two extra seats swing on the specials.

Now what to look for for each party.


Based on pre-election polls there seems little doubt that Labour will form the next Government. The question will be how well do they win. Questions I’ll be looking for are:

  • Will they be able to govern alone?
  • Will they beat their MMP best result of 41.3% in 2002? (hightly likely)
  • Will they beat the best ever MMP result of any party being National’s 47.3% in 2011?
  • Will Labour lose Taieri?
  • How close will the Māori Party get to them in Waiariki, Te Tai Hauauru and Tamaki Makaurau?


  • What will their result be comparable to? It will be better than National’s 2002 result of 20.9%. Will it beat Labour’s 2014 result of 25.1%, Labour’s 2011 result of 27.5%, Labour’s 1996 result of 28.2%, National’s 1999 result of 30.5%, Labour’s 2008 result of 34.0%?
  • How many electorates will National lose? In the South Island I will follow Invercargill, Nelson and Rangitata. In the North Island I will be watching Hutt South, Wairarapa, Otaki, Whanganui, Tukituki, Hamilton East, Hamilton West, Maungakiekie, Auckland Central and Northcote.
  • Will National pick up the new seat of Takanini?
  • Who gets in on National’s List

NZ First

  • Do they make 5%?
  • If not, do they get close (above 4%), as that may determine if they carry on
  • Does Shane Jones come 2nd or 3rd in Northland?


  • Does their vote under-perform the polls as usual?
  • How many MPs will they get? Their results from best to worst are 14, 14, 9, 9, 8, 7, 6


  • How many MPs will they get? Their results from best to worst are 9, 9, 8, 5, 2, 1, 1, 1
  • Will ACT or the Greens be the third largest party?