National's Anne Tolley begins her fifth term as East Coast MP after beating Labour candidate Kiri Allan at the polls.

It was Ms Allan who took the early lead with a 26-vote lead over Mrs Tolley but ultimately it may have been voter turn-out that influenced the final result.

Figures from the Electoral Commission show 92.98 per cent (48,437 people) of the East Coast electorate were enrolled to vote but only 76.6 per cent of eligible voters aged 18-24 had enrolled.

In Gisborne for Saturday night's festivities, Mrs Tolley described election night as fabulous.

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"The result was a great result, both for me personally and for the National Party," Tolley said.

"I am thrilled to carry on as MP for the East Coast electorate, it's a great electorate and it has been fantastic to see the people have confidence in me."

She said it was equally as fantastic to see such support for the Government and for the direction in which National was taking the country.

"There are three priorities I have for the Eastern Bay and I have mentioned them often during my campaigning. Firstly to support the people of Edgecumbe and surrounding areas, and farmers, affected by the April floods.

"Secondly it is the Opotiki Harbour Development and aquaculture and thirdly, pushing the Government toward the start of a second crossing into Whakatane."

Tolley relaxed in Gisborne yesterday before heading home to Ohope in the afternoon.

Labour's East Coast candidate Kiri Allan and her number one fan, three-and-a-half week old daughter Hiwa-​i-te-rangi in Whakatane on election night. Photo/Katee Shanks
Labour's East Coast candidate Kiri Allan and her number one fan, three-and-a-half week old daughter Hiwa-​i-te-rangi in Whakatane on election night. Photo/Katee Shanks

East Coast Labour candidate Kiri Allan was at a Whakatane bar with family, friends and supporters to watch the votes come in.

Only three-and-a-half weeks ago she and wife Natalie Allan-Coates became parents of Hiwa-i-te-rangi who was at the election night party wearing a red onesie and a bib with "Let's Do This" on the front.

Allan said it had been a full-on year.

"Becoming a candidate and also a first-time parent wasn't quite intentional," she laughed.

"I'm pleased with how the night went. I was under no illusion as to the mammoth task I had taken on to unseat the Honourable Mrs Tolley.

"She has been around for some time and is popular within the East Coast electorate. I am pleased to have increased the Labour vote."

In a post on social media yesterday, Ms Allan said it looked like she was heading to Parliament as a List MP and wrote "it would be an honour and a privilege to serve our people and advocate for justice and change".

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said he had been quite relaxed with either outcome.

"Both parties had their own advantages so we were happy to work with both. I just hope Winston doesn't take too long to make his decision or put a spanner in the works."

East Coast Electorate
National 15,196
Labour 11,653
New Zealand First 3331
Anne Tolley 15,615
Kiri Allan 10,962
Julian Tilley 2613