National's Todd McClay has stormed to victory, securing his fourth term as Rotorua's MP, with more than 16,000 votes.

Labour candidate Ben Sandford called McClay just after 10pm to congratulate him on the victory and to concede.

Sandford said McClay congratulated him on a fair and well-fought campaign.

The Labour candidate came in second, with 9114, followed by NZ First's Fletcher Tabuteau with 2685.

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Todd McClay celebrates with family and supporters after winning the Rotorua seat tonight. Photo/Stephen Parker
Todd McClay celebrates with family and supporters after winning the Rotorua seat tonight. Photo/Stephen Parker

Todd McClay is addressing his supporters.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Saturday, 23 September 2017

In giving his victory speech, McClay said he was proud to be going into his fourth term as Rotorua's MP.

It is the first time in 21 years a Rotorua MP has held their seat for four or more terms.

"Being an MP for Rotorua and representing our city in parliament is without a doubt the best job I have ever had.

Ben Sandford and Steve Chadwick at Labour's headquarter's tonight. Photo/Stephen Parker
Ben Sandford and Steve Chadwick at Labour's headquarter's tonight. Photo/Stephen Parker

"This campaign, like every campaign I have had to earn every single vote and I am honoured Rotorua has chosen me to represent them again."

Rotorua electorate chairman Trevor Newbrook said people followed McClay personally, even if they did not party vote National.

"The atmosphere has been great tonight. I was confident Todd would make it back in, and quietly confident National would take the lead."

About 400 people gathered at the Rotorua CT Club in support of McClay and the National Party.

In a speech following his concession Sandford thanked Coffey for his support and the Hinemihi Marae for their hospitality.

"This has been an incredible fascinating journey," he said.

"I think Tamati will make a fantastic MP and I look forward to carrying on with Labour."

Sandford said he would be taking some time to reflect on the result.

When asked if he would run again he said he would need to talk it over with my team and my friends and family, but probably yes.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick was at Labour Headquarters tonight, in support of Sandford and Waiariki candidate Tamati Coffey.

She said tonight's celebrations took her back to her own election night.

"At this stage it's very nerve wracking," she said.

"It's certainly not the tidal wave Labour were expecting.

"No matter who wins, I will work with them for the best interests of this city.

"All of our candidates have worked so hard."

Supporters of Labour's Waiariki candidate Tamati Coffey are watching the results as they come in at Hinemihi Marae.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Saturday, 23 September 2017

Rotorua district councillor Mark Gould showed his support for McClay.

"Ben did run a good campaign but people support Todd with a vengence.

"Todd has been one of the best MPs Rotorua has ever had - he's approachable and done so much for the city and nation."

McClay's lead was evident from early on.

"It's tracking similar to last time, but there is still a long way to go," he said around 7.30pm.

"The sense over the last couple of weeks has been positive and an early lead is pleasing to see.

"The biggest thing is proving to people you will work hard for their votes and continue to work hard for them after voting is over."

Todd McClay's election party

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Saturday, 23 September 2017
After weeks of speeches, policies and photo opportunities it's election night.
Labour Party's election night party at Hinemihi Marae in Rotorua. Photo/Alice Guy
Labour Party's election night party at Hinemihi Marae in Rotorua. Photo/Alice Guy
Todd McClay has taken an early lead over Ben Sandford. Photo/Stephen Parker
Todd McClay has taken an early lead over Ben Sandford. Photo/Stephen Parker

FINAL RESULTS:

Todd McClay: 16544

Ben Sandford: 9114

Fletcher Tabuteau: 2685

Richard Gillies: 1139

Wendy Biddle: 548

Rachael Clarke: 132

Owen Patterson: 93

EARLIER:

After weeks of campaigning, Rotorua's seven electoral candidates will tonight find out who will represent the city for the next three years.

Voting for this year's General Election closed at 7pm.

Advance vote results are expected by 8.30pm, and 100 per cent of voting places are expected to be tallied by 11.30pm.

Rotorua's seven candidates are National's Todd McClay, Ben Sandford for Labour, The Green Party's Richard Gillies, independent Rachael Clarke, the Maori Party's Wendy Biddle, Fletcher Tabuteau for NZ First and Conservative Party's Owen Patterson.'s