TV One's Michael Parkin had the good oil early on. The concrete floor at the National party HQ was worrying organisers. What if they won by a landslide and partied like it was 1999?
After all, it was a wet night and Tories are well known for shiny shoes, a disaster on this slippery surface. As it turned out he needn't have worried, the music that accompanied Key's grand entrance was no longer the rousing Eminem track but an insipid piece of legally acquired instrumental muzak. If it wasn't for their weapons grade smirking you would have thought they'd lost.
We had a party at my place in which some of us dressed as politicians. There was a man as Nikki Kaye (not convincing); a young Helen Clark, complete with climbing axe; a pearled up Judith Collins; a busty Paula Bennett; a half grey Laila Harre and her press secretary, Pam Corkery (only obvious when she accused you of being a "puffed up little shit") among others. Naturally, I came as Kim Dotcom. I had a great time though felt some next day remorse for unloading my terrible German accent on so many.
The real Dotcom provided the most honest line of the night. A line that probably should have been uttered by David Cunliffe perhaps: "I have to admit that we lost because of me."
Early on the outcome was obvious. TV One panel jockeys Michelle Boag and Mike Williams wore it on their faces. Boag with a grin, Williams with a few extra bags piled on his under eye luggage carousels. We flicked between the main channels and kept up-to-date via radios in the bathrooms.
Guyon Espiner told me that Hone had gone as I took a pee. Hosking had his firm hand on the TV One tiller while Campbell was solid on TV3, having the added advantage of standing up, thus lording it over Paul Henry.
On TV One, for some reason, Toni Street was sitting on the panel. Probably a rostering stuff-up, Paula Bennett* reckoned. "These things can happen in a big organization."
By this stage Nikki Kaye* was dancing on the table, and my German accent had slipped somewhat, with overtones of Indian and, after a few tequilas, Mexican.
Time to "check out Maori TV" said, unlikely as it is, Christine Rankin*, who would end the evening in a disgraceful episode that includes the words 'soiling fee'.
Maori TV was where the ladies were all at, their front row was all female and deemed the best dressed, with the best hair, by none other than Paula Bennett*.
Mihingarangi Forbes, Maiki Sherman and Billie Jo Hohepa were in top form and the latter had the line of the night when they crossed to her as the kai was being served at Peeni Henare's HQ. "The watercress smells sweet." Food is always the best part of election night.
Cunliffe handed out sausages and chops to the journos outside his Herne Bay mansion, Key dialed in some pizzas for his waiting news pigs. The fancy spread at Internet Mana looked hardly touched, though complete with ham on the bone.
Meanwhile Brook "puffed up little shit" Sabin was hanging around the Green Party's Taco Truck, who had the best looking food of all. They crossed to war correspondent Mike McRoberts from the frontline.
"The sushi was very popular," he reported at David Seymour's Party HQ. There was a lone plate marked "vegetarian option". Elsewhere there were "home made Afghans", "caramel slice", "fried bread". Patrick Gower reckoned the meal du jour at the National Party HQ was something called "wagu woo" beef.
Back on TV One we observed that things were more low-fi than the last election. It was no longer from the TVNZ atrium, which used to give them a fancy CNN feel. "That's because the building has been sold to Sky City" reckoned half grey and half cut, Laila Harre*.
Linda Clark, Paul Henry, Bryce Edwards and Mathew Hooton meant the TV3 panel had more spark and political nous to throw around but TV One had the likes of Boag and Williams and they brought in Willie Jackson to add some much needed Tabasco to proceedings. Before he predictably erupted with his favourite word "disgrace" when it became clear that Hone was a goner.
TV One also had Jehan Casinader who was in hilarious form in Peter Dunne's party HQ, complete with a fetching bow-tie and pocket square ensemble. Duncan Garner was manning TV3's flash new 3D graphics nonsense, which looked nice but made the numbers hard to read unless you have a 50-inch plus TV. Also I was wearing blue tinted sunglasses ($5 at Savemart, black cap $3.99).
Perhaps rugby was the winner on the day? Israel Dagg certainly backed the winning team. His "I just voted for JK" tweet was brought gleefully to the table by Heather du Plessis-Allen, who was dicing up the brain farts of social media on TV One. There was even talk of prosecution for the fullback, but full crazy wasn't reached until airport security gatecrasher Gerry Brownlee was quoting Abraham Lincoln. At that point the room spun but I have recovered some memories that I'll leave you with.
• Tova O'Brien hounding Winston Peters as he left to meet the faithful at the end of the night. "You must be disappointed?" Tova reckoned. "You're not a psychologist", countered Winston as he tried to slip away but the lift had yet to arrive. Tova wouldn't let up, her "will you be calling the Prime Minister?" was met with a "behave yourself", to which Tova replied, "you behave yourself".
• The defeated husk of Laila Harre on the run from Rebecca Wright at the Internet Mana HQ.
• Russell Norman keeping it together as Brook Sabin hounded him entering the Green HQ.
• David Cunliffe smiling to the bitter end.
• The sight of Hone Harawira's blue falcon "heading north for possibly the last time" on Garth Bray's report on what would turn out to be Hone's last hurrah.
• Mike Hosking having a ball saying things like, "it's disaster for Labour" and "the left are going to have to do a lot of explaining." Paul Henry also having the time of his life with: "It's all over for Hone" and "Labour are doing diabolically."
• John Key getting good haka outside his house. "What traitors!" yelled Nikki Kaye* before breaking into the worst haka I have ever seen.
• "He redefines the word poodle." Linda Clark on David Seymour.
• Also, I seem to recall Patrick Gower with some twins at the National Party HQ who were answering in stereo. But as I say, I had been drinking.
*The people at my party, not the real people.