As for who forms the government ... I am not feeling optimistic. Others may have been carried away by Jacindamania, but I have remained dourly unimpressed.
Almost. It was hard, as the polls seemed to surge ever upwards ... But I felt it would be a struggle for Labour to take the lead, and retain it. The collapse of the Greens and the waning of Winston Peters helped ... But Labour have not made decisive inroads into National's support.
43% seems to be the magic number, allowing a government to be formed with just one significant other. For Labour, it will (probably) mean they can form a coalition with the Greens (lots of caveats apply) and, perhaps, the Maori Party, and freeze New Zealand first out. That would be my ideal result. For National, 43% would mean they can call out to Winston, and their ACT tail-ender.
Unfortunately I think National are more likely to breach 43%.
The other day I predicted Nats on 43% and Labour on 39%. Banging those figures into the elections calculator gives the following parliament:
- ACT New Zealand - 1 seat
- Greens - 9 seats
- Labour - 47 seats
- Māori Party - 1 seat
- National - 52 seats
- NZ 1st - 10 seats
Diligent lurgee watchers will note I've abandoned my hopes of Hone Harawira and Mana staging a comeback in Te Tai Tokerau. If he does pull it off it may create an overhang; but given Labour's churlish attitude towards Mana, it probably doesn't make things easier for them.
7.03 Listening to coverage with John Campbell.
7.06 Lprent (who told me off for advocating eating the rich, earlier in the day) has an election thread on The Standard. I imagine it will be a bit livelier than this one. But mine is best.
7.09 1.8% counted!
7.10 2% counted! I can't keep up! Alas, my prediction is very on-the-nose thus far. I remember 2005, where Labour started well behind and slowly dragged it back, eventually crossing over in the final few votes. Subsequent elections have been far more static, with the initial figures hardly changing. I hope for the former, expect the latter.
7.14 I can't hear him, but I can see Mike Hosking. And Michelle Boag. This may be more than I can endure. Time to break out the whisky.
7.20 If my prediction and the early results hold, the left will have to take a long honest look at itself. This is the National Party shaping up for a forth term, and retain its vote share inspite of losing John Key. Blunty, they have to acknowledge that this is not a leftwing country that has inexplicably voted for National for a decade; it is a rightwing country that occasionally does the decent thing. Labour and the wider left will have to reconsider what it stands for. This isn't how I want things to be, but it is how I think they are.
7.24 Blaming New Zealanders for rejecting Labour - if they have - is to miss the point. If you can't win against a government that's been hanging about like a bad smell for 9 years, then you have to ask some pretty fundamental questions of yourself and your strategy.
7.26 Winston Peters tells John Campbell he'll only talk once the results are in. Then shut up, you grisly revenant.
7.29 David Parker is picking up votes in Epsom, inspite of exhortations to the left to vote for National's Paul Goldsmith. My guess is it is ACT supporters getting confused because the Nats were voting Seymour, and the left were voting for Goldsmith.
7.31 Aotearoa Legalise Cannibas on 0.2%. ACT on 0.4%. Time to get rid of those absurd fringe parties that no-one really cares about.
7.36 12% counted and - hideously - National are surpassing my prediction. Currently on 46.5%. If that is maintained, they'll barely have lost ground from 2014.
7.47 National SLUMP to 46%, with 17% of the vote counted. Labour SOAR to 36.5% And Jacinda Ardern is burying Melissa Lee. Good.
7.56 Stuart Nash ahead in Napier. I hope he is not entertaining any notion of a leadership challenge. Ardern has earned a full stint.
7.59 National creep up again, to 46.2%, with 20% counted. Labour slip a bit to 36.3%.
8.00 I am disappointed. I hadn't expected Labour to beat National, but it looks like their support has waned in the final days. Unfortunately, it looks like New Zealand have selected the known Devil over the swanky new one. Frustratingly, in spite of running against a corrupt, tired and dull government that has more than outstayed its welcome, Labour have failed to do anything more than capture the Green votes lost after Turei's moment of madness. Still time for things to change, but it's hard to see Labour and Greens putting on 6%.
8.10 there's only one thing for it! Deploy sentimental 80s soul-lite!
8.12 I'm glad I can only see Mike Hosking. I don't think I could bear his smugness if I could hear it.
8.17 It looks like David Seymour has got Epsom, so unfortunately ACT will survive yet again. Frustratingly, David Parker won well over 1300 votes; Seymour's current majority is just over 900 votes. If the lefties had voted tactically they might have been able to make 2017 the final ACT (see what I did there?)
8.22 Labour still slipping ... now on 36.1% with 25% counted. National steady on 46.2%. If Labour drop too far 36%, my earlier warning to Stuart Nash might not be enough. The whiff of power does strange things to people.
8.25 TOP must be finished. Gareth Morgan won't have the patience to spend years trying to build up a real party. So, United Future gone, the Maori Party gone, Mana gone, TOP never got there ... Why does ACT have to survive this Massacre of the Minor Parties?
20.32 Labour SLIDE to 36% dead, with 28% counted.
20.38 Labour back up to 36.1%. Put the leadership bid on ice, Stuart!
8.44 Hone Harawira 1800 votes behind Kelvin Davis. Mana are finished.
8.48 And now it's National on 46.4% versus Labour in 35.9%, with 31% counted. This is like 2005 in reverse - the gap is widening as the night wears on. Basically Labour have cannibalised the Greens. The actual balance between the right and left blocks hasn't changed.
I'm going to say it - Jacindamania was an illusion.
8.59 Said it before, but it bear repeating - Jeremy Corbyn had two years to get himself dug in and a highly ffective campaigning organisation effectively under his control. Jacinda Ardern only had the useless Labour Party.
9.00 So, a dreadful hour. Labour slipping and National slowly moving upwards with 41% counted. The Greens looking safe, thank goodness. But the other minor parties seem to have been annihilated. Apart from ACT, which seems to be as unkillable as Michael Myers.
9.18 The whisky is starting to kick in. I'm numb.
9.25 We've got 57% of the vote counted. National are still going up, now on 46.7% and 58 seats, with Labour down to 35.5%. I thought I was being a miserable pessimistic Grinch, predicting 43/39.
9.39 We've got 66% of the vote counted. National now 46.6% and Labour still 35.5%. Greens stuck on 5.9%. Really disappointing result, to be honest.
So it looks like National will need NZ 1st, as all their other options have been annihilated. They are welcome to him. Everything Winston touches turns to excrement. It would almost guarantee a Labour-Green victory in 2020. Whereas a Lab-Green-NZ 1st coalition would see Bill “Third Time Lucky” English installed as PM in 2020, with a majority of about 120.
9.57 Labour creep back up, a whole tenth of a percent. But there isn't going to be a late surge liek there was in 2005. Not with 78% of the vote counted. National 46.5%, and Labour 35.6% . The Greens slip a bit more, to 5.8%.
10.00 Another hour of scour. Virtually no change in the relative position of the parties. Everything seems to be pretty much locked in. This may be the final posting from lefthandpalm, for tonight.