National's Denise Lee wins Maungakiekie after Green, Labour candidates split left vote
Auckland councillor Denise Lee looks to have won Maungakiekie for National.
With provisional votes counted, Lee sits at the top with 12,338 votes, almost 2000 more than Labour candidate Priyanca Radhakrishnan's 10,395 votes.
Political commentator Chris Trotter's prediction that high-profile Green candidate Chloe Swarbrick would split the Left vote in the electorate has come true.
Despite campaigning for the party vote, Swarbrick pulled in 2995 candidate votes and just 1575 party votes.
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Lee said she had been cautiously optimistic going into election night, but it had been hard to read the mood.
Maungakiekie's position as something of a bellwether reflected a general uncertainty from National about who voters would go for, she said.
"I feel incredibly humbled and really happy that people in the community have given me such a good vote of confidence," Lee said.
"I've done the hard yards over many years in the community."
Labour narrowly won the party vote for the electorate with 11873, against 11,590 for National.
Radhakrishnan said she was proud of what Labour had accomplished and looked forward to entering Parliament in the coming weeks.
"We've reduced the margin from 2014 and I'm very proud of winning the party vote," she said.
In 2014, National MP Sam Lotu-liga won the electorate with 16,132 votes, 2384 more votes than Labour.
Lee's victory will trigger an Auckland Council by-election, which will cost ratepayers $115,000.
Lee said she wouldn't resign from Auckland Council until the official results came out, and until then she said she would be taking a leave of absence with no pay.
She wouldn't nominate a successor but said there were a few good names beginning to surface.
"I feel very confident on the council front that there will be a really engaged and local person to give it a good crack."
All three candidates will enter Parliament, with Radhakrishnan sitting at 12 on Labour's list and Swarbrick sitting at 7 on Green's list.
Swarbrick, 23, will become New Zealand's youngest MP since Marilyn Waring was elected in 1975.
The official results are expected to be out on October 7.