Finally becoming a member of Parliament after campaigning for almost a year brought mixed emotions for Dunedin South's newest MP, Clare Curran, yesterday.
National Party leader John Key showed he was ready to assume the mantle of New Zealand's top job within minutes of being declared the next prime minister when he changed the mood of his party's celebrations from one of boorish behaviour to a time for celebration.
The smile on Bill English's face said it all on Saturday night.
Dunedin North's returning Labour MP Pete Hodgson refused to watch television coverage of John Key's victory speech on Saturday night, using the time to rally the band of about 50 supporters gathered at Alhambra-Union Rugby Football Club clubrooms.
A jubilant Jacqui Dean, who stormed back into Parliament with a 10,176 majority over Labour's David Parker, says she has been campaigning for the past year to win the new Waitaki electorate seat.
The Labour stranglehold on the Dunedin South electorate was dented although not overcome on election night, with National's Conway Powell lessening the gap between him and Labour candidate Clare Curran to about 6000 votes.
The Maori Party will today begin trying to convince its members that it should work with the new National-led Government so it can gain policy successes for Maori people.
A record turnout is expected as New Zealanders go the polls today to elect a new government. Just under three million people are enrolled to vote and, with 210,000 advance votes cast by yesterday afternoon -- a third more than in 2005 -- a new record turnout could be on the cards. Polling at the 2700 booths around the country is from 9am-7pm.
With half the votes counted in the general election National continued to hold a strong lead over Labour but the gap between the main parties was narrowing. National held 46 percent of the party vote and Labour 32 percent. The ACT Party, National's partner, had won 3.6 percent of the votes counted and Labour's ally the Greens 6.4 percent.
With 75 percent of the votes counted in the general election National was well on the way to forming a coalition government with the ACT Party.
The man expected to be New Zealand's next deputy Prime Minister is "quietly confident" National will have enough support to form the next Government.
The Greens are back with two more MPs after yesterday's election but yet again the environmental party is shut out of government.
With 90 percent of general election votes counted National and its right-wing partner the ACT Party were assured of holding a majority and forming a coalition government in the new Parliament.
The weight of political pedigree behind Winston Peters and New Zealand First failed to save the day.
ACT Party leader Rodney Hide ACT Party leader Rodney Hide says he won't be making an announcement about any coalition arrangements with the National Party until he talks to his party's board on Monday. The Epsom MP, who retained the traditionally true-blue seat again tonight, thanked about 200 jubilant supporters crowded into the Orakei RSA in Auckland.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples The Maori Party remains hopeful of gaining some budgetary responsibility even though National does not need its support to govern. The Maori Party looked as if it had added one seat to the four it held in the last Parliament, with Rahui Katene narrowly leading Labour's Mahara Okeroa with more than 90 percent of the vote counted.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters Twenty nine years after fighting his way into Parliament on a court-ordered recount, Winston Peters was yesterday voted back into the wilderness. One of the great survivors of New Zealand politics, Mr Peters lost the last of his nine lives yesterday, at the end of a campaign that was fraught with difficulty.
The National Party has won the general election, ending nine years of Labour Party reign under Prime Minister Helen Clark.
New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters New Zealand First is not finished, insists Winston Peters, founder of the 15-year-old political party. "This is not the end", a remarkably upbeat Mr Peters told supporters last night, to loud applause, after his party was wiped out of Parliament. "For a while we will be free now to lead our own lives."
Polling Places Counted:6,304 of 6,304 Total Votes Counted:2,103,583 Special Votes: 207,953 Less than 6 votes taken in Polling Places: 1,261 ...