By RNZ News
New Zealand’s Labour leader Jacinda Ardern received a rapturous reception when she walked on stage at the Auckland Town Hall this evening.
With more than three-quarters of the votes counted in the general election, Labour is on 49.0 percent and can govern alone.
Speaking to Labour supporters, she said New Zealand had shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years.
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“We’ve seen that support in both urban areas and rural areas, in seats we may have hoped for but equally those we may not have expected.”
She thanked volunteers, supporters, MPs in an “endless campaign”.
She also thanked those who may have not supported Labour before and said they would not take their support for granted.
“We will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
‘Increasingly polarised world’
She said everyone was living in an “increasingly polarised world”, but she hoped this election had shown New Zealand that this was not who we were and that as a nation we could listen and debate.
“Elections aren’t always great at bringing people together, but they also don’t need to tear one another apart,” she said.
“So again, I say thank you. This has not been an ordinary election and this has not been an ordinary time.
“Tonight’s result has been strong and it is clear that Labour will lead the government for the next three years.”
She said there was much work to do, but the country will build back better after the covid crisis.
She said there was a need to invest in the infrastructure that set New Zealand up for generations to come.
“Our plan is already in action and already working, but after this result we have the mandate to accelerate this response and our recovery and tomorrow we start.
“Now more than ever is the time to keep going, to keep working … let’s keep moving.”
Cliff-hanger for Māori Party
Shortly after 10pm, opposition National leader Judith Collins told party faithful she had phoned Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to congratulate her on the election result.
With more than three-quarters of the votes counted, Labour was on 49.0 percent, National on 27.0 percent, the Greens on 7.6 and ACT is on 8.1 percent.
New Zealand First was on 2.6 percent, The Opportunities Party on 1.4 and New Conservatives on 1.5 percent, while the Māori Party is on 1 percent and Advance NZ on 0.9 percent.
However, in Waiariki, there was a desperately close race between Tamati Coffey and the Māori Party’s Rawiri Waititi. If Waititi wins, then he will return the Māori Party to Parliament.
National MP Gerry Brownlee was looking likely to lose his Ilam seat in Christchurch, which he had held since the seat was created in 1996.
There are some clear leaders in some electorates, but others are extremely close.
This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.