National loses majority, Greens pick up one
National will be forced to rely on at least one of its support partners to pass controversial legislation, after special votes cost it an historic majority.
Today the Electoral Commission declared the final results of the election, which included the counting of 330,895 special votes and a recount of the votes counted on election day.
The results showed a heavy swing against the National Party, which saw its percentage of the vote drop by more than 1 per cent, to 47.04 per cent.
The result was enough to cost National an MP, with West Coast-Tasman candidate Maureen Pugh losing her position in Parliament.
Prime Minister John Key has played down the significance of the result.
"There has never been a majority government delivered underMMP in our history and it's only happened once elsewhere in the world," a spokeswoman for Key said in a statement.
"It's still a very strong election result - National has increased its number of seats in Parliament from both the 2008 and 2011 elections, which is a great achievement and a vote of support from New Zealanders for National's plan."
Key was disappointed that National would lose Maureen Pugh but believed the 60-strong National caucus "will represent the interests of New Zealanders well," the spokeswoman said.
"National has this week signed coalition agreements with the ACT Party and United Future and the Prime Minister will be making a similar announcement with the Maori Party tomorrow. The presence of these three parties makes National a stronger and better government and also means it will have a majority in the House over and above what is required for confidence and supply."
On September 20 it appeared National had gained the first Parliamentary majority since MMP was introduced in 1996, with 61 of the 121 MPs.
This meant that for the first time it could effectively pass any piece of legislation it wanted to, without relying on the support of other parties.
A swing to the Greens, which saw its party vote climb to 10.7 per cent, returns Steffan Browning, who entered Parliament in 2011, become the 14th member of the caucus.
The Green Party quickly welcomed the result, meaning its caucus did not shrink from the last term.
"The Green Party continues this term with a strong team of 14 MPs, a united caucus, stable leadership and a clear vision for a better New Zealand," co-leader Russel Norman said.
"This means National does not have an outright majority on every vote and will require ACT, United Future or the Maori Party support to pass legislation. There is now increased representation for the opposition, which is more in line with how MMP is designed to function."
Norman said Browning brought a "wealth of experience" from his term in Parliament.
"He's a long-time campaigner for smart sustainable agriculture and safe food, and a valued advocate for New Zealand's growers and producers."
Labour's Andrew Little, who was speculated to be likely to lose his position in Parliament, is safe and has declared he is considering a tilt at the Labour leadership.
Labour's share of the party vote climbed in the special votes, climbed from 24.69 per cent to 25.13 per cent, potentially crossing a morale boosting threshold.
None of the electorate results were overturned from September 20, with Nikki Kaye's Auckland Central holding the smallest majority of 600 votes.
The Electoral Commission said the turnout was 77.9 per cent of enrolled voters, up from 74.21 per cent in the 2011 election, but below 2008 and 2005 levels.
On the Maori Roll the turnout was 65.07 per cent, however for the first time in decades the turnout in each of the Maori electorates was over 60 per cent.