NZ election 2020: early results show Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party ahead – live

Aotearoa heads to the polls. Referendums also being held on legalising cannabis and euthanasia. Follow results live:

  • More than 1.9 million people voted early
  • When will we know who has won
  • New Zealand’s MMP electoral system: what is it and how does it work

At Jacinda Ardern’s home, her partner Clarke Gayford has brought snacks to journalists waiting outside.

PM Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford brings out some fried fish he caught this morning plus some venison bites for the waiting media outside their house.

God I love New Zealand. ❤️ #nzpol #nzelection2020 pic.twitter.com/ExXgLEdcwD

Most electorate races in New Zealand don’t particularly matter to the overall outcome, since the list seats compensate parties for a low electorate count. But there are a few that matter a lot.

An electorate win for a minor party is a guarantee that they will stay in parliament, even if their vote drops below 5%. ACT New Zealand last polled over 5% of the party vote in 2002, but has stayed in parliament thanks to the party holding the inner Auckland seat of Epsom. National overwhelmingly wins the party vote in Epsom but conservative Epsom voters usually split their vote to give a lifeline to a reliable National ally.

The Green Party has not won an electorate since the 1999 election, but Green MP Chloe Swarbrick is contesting the inner city seat of Auckland Central, and two polls have her polling far above the levels normally seen for Green Party electorate candidates. She was still polling third in the most recent polls, but if some Labour voters were to switch to vote for her it would protect the Green Party in case of their vote dropping, as looked possible not that long ago.

Two other parties are also looking to win electorates as a way to enter Parliament. The Maori Party once held five of the seven Maori electorates, and have never won enough party votes to win list seats above and beyond their electorates. The party lost its last two seats to Labour in 2017, but a win in any of these seats would bring them back into Parliament.

The Opportunities Party is also putting up a strong challenge in the Wellington-area seat of Ohariu, which consistently sent United Future leader Peter Dunne to Parliament even as his party vote collapsed prior to his retirement in 2017.

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