Friday, 27 Nov 2020

Election results 2020: Special votes – will National’s hand weaken, the Māori Party remain, cannabis result flip?

The National Party’s parliamentary hand is expected to weaken when the Electoral Commission releases the final results of the 2020 election at 2pm today.

The party’s support has on average dropped 0.73 per cent on special votes, and it has lost at least one seat after the final count since 2005; Labour and the Greens on average get a 0.43 per cent bump.

The provisional results were: Labour on 49.1 per cent (64 seats), National on 26.8 per cent (35 seats), Act on 8 per cent (10 seats), the Greens on 7.6 per cent (10 seats) and the Māori Party with the seat of Waiariki.

The final results – which will include 480,0000-odd special votes, or 17 per cent of the total – will not change the parliamentary majority that Labour holds, or the Labour-Greens cooperation agreement that has already been signed.

But they will determine the final number of each parties’ MPs in Parliament, including whether the Māori Party returns, with the provisional count giving the Waiariki seat narrowly to Māori Party candidate Rawiri Waititi over Labour’s Tamati Coffey.

The referendum results on euthanasia and legalising recreational cannabis will also be finalised.

The provisional results had 65.2 per cent support for the End of Life Choice Bill in the euthanasia referendum, and 53.1 per cent voting against legalising recreational cannabis.

More than two-thirds of the special votes have to tick “yes” to flip the cannabis result.

There are seven electoral contests other than Waiariki with a provisional majority of less than 1000 votes: Auckland Central (held by the Greens’ Chloe Swarbrick), Whangārei (National’s Shane Reti), Maungakiekie (National’s Denise Lee), Invercargill (National’s Penny Simmonds), Northland (National’s Matt King), Tāmaki Makaurau (Labour’s Peeni Henare) and Tukituki (Labour’s Anna Lorck).

The final results may be subject to a recount.

The electorate with the tightest margin is Whangārei, which Reti holds by just 164 votes.

National’s list MP Maureen Pugh has already started packing up her parliamentary office in anticipation of losing her seat following the count of the specials.

Next on Labour’s list, if Labour gets another MP, is Lemauga Lydia Sosene, who has taken part in the new MPs’ parliamentary induction in case she became an MP.

The Green candidate Steve Abel has also taken part in the induction in case he becomes an MP.


Pugh is well-practised at the boomeranging in and out of Parliament – this is her third time after just getting through the doors in 2014 and 2017 only to be outed after the special votes.

It was only after Bill English resigned in 2018 that Pugh finally got back in last term.

“I think actually the situation I find myself in is bordering on comical. It’s okay to be in this situation once, even twice would be bizarre. But to be in this position for the third time is almost comical,” she told the Herald a week ago.

“Even some of my colleagues were joking about it the other day, saying ‘We should put you way down the list because you end up being our benchmark’. I don’t know if I really agree with that theory, though.”

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