You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Earlier optimism transformed to realism in Lawrence tonight, where NZ First list MP Mark Patterson conceded a result almost certain to end his embryonic political career.
After watching a valedictory speech by party leader Winston Peters, first-term MP Mr Patterson told the Otago Daily Times he did not expect to retain a seat in Parliament, based on preliminary results from about 60% of total votes cast.
About 9.45pm, Taieri electorate Labour candidate Ingrid Leary was leading the race by a significant margin, ahead of National candidate Liam Kernaghan.
Mr Patterson was running a close race for fourth with ACT Party candidate Robert Andrews at the time of writing, with 586 votes.
Mr Andrews had 601 votes.
NZ First looked unlikely to meet the 5% party vote threshold for its list MPs to gain entry to Parliament, sitting at about 2.6%.
He congratulated Ms Leary, and said Labour's handling of the Covid-19 crisis had helped her and her party to an apparent landslide victory this year.
"I'm sure Ingrid will make a fine MP for the area.
"There's been a red tide coming in this year, which has blown everyone away, but a tough night for us, obviously."
Mr Patterson, a Lawrence farmer, said he now planned to take some time to retrench.
"I would have loved to have had a second term, but I'll reassess my options later on.
"It's back to the farm for me, for now."