Too early to call Northland with 8 per cent of the vote counted, says the sitting electorate MP and NZ First leader Winston Peters.

As it stands, he's currently behind the challenged National candidate Matt King, who's got 2520 counted votes to Peters' 2409.

"It's very difficult to make it a two-horse race when one horse has been running around the whole country."

Peters' has campaigned for NZ First across New Zealand with frequent returns to Northland for candidate meetings.

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Initial poll results had Peters ahead of King but as he fell behind, he stepped out of the party - held at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell, Bay of Islands - for 15 minutes for a meeting with advisers.

Returning through the kitchen, which is turning out platters of seafood, he stopped to chat with kitchen staff before rejoining the party.

The election night party at the Duke was an "intimate" gathering of those who had fought for Northland, he said.

Peters said it would have been too expensive to have brought party workers from across the country for election night.

He said he wasn't expecting to receive or make any phone calls this evening related to any coalition.

"For 21 years I've said this about MMP - the only way you can get something to endure is if you discuss it democratically with your colleagues."

Peters' plans for tomorrow were to start with a breakfast with his team before driving to Whananaki, on the coast out from Whangarei, where he grew up.