With the results including special votes posted for the 2020 General Election, it is even clearer just what an extraordinary election it was, with Labour increasing its representation by 19 seats and National losing 23 seats in Parliament.
The Labour Party won a plurality in the party vote in every electorate except Epsom and made huge gains in provincial electorate battles to secure regional seats like Tukituki, East Coast and Wairarapa in Hawke's Bay Today's back yard and eight others from Northland to Rangitata.
Napier MP and now second-term Cabinet Minister, Stuart Nash, pointed out to me that until the 2020 general election only he and Damien O'Conner had won seats from the National Party this century.
Over the years I've noted that people tend to circulate with others of a similar political persuasion – National-voting folks mix with National-voting friends and Labour supporters mix with other leftish voters – so it was of considerable interest to me to appear in the media and chat with a long-time National Party supporter who had voted Labour for the first time in her life.
I was interested to know what had prompted her to abandon a 50-year habit and I suspect that her reply would reflect many of the more than 400,000 voters who switched their political allegiance from National between 2017 and 2020.
She had been impressed that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "had a baby and didn't miss a beat" but the fundamental reason behind her radical decision was the PM's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic: "she kept us safe".
National will need a period of honest reflection and more of a clean-out if it is to bounce back any time soon.
The country needs strong parties and real competition in 2023, so it was a great surprise that National Party president Peter Goodfellow was re-elected despite one of the worst results in his party's history.
Party presidents have several crucial roles.
They locate and mentor promising parliamentary candidates, raise funds for election campaigns and deliver an on-the-ground organisation to support the parliamentary party and increase its support.
Though National Party presidents do not have the same influence on candidate selection as Labour Party presidents, who vote on every selection panel, under Goodfellow's leadership, too many safe National electorate nominations have fallen to religious fundamentalists whose attitudes do not reflect that majority of middle NZ voters who decide elections.
National gave every appearance of running out of money towards the end of the 2020 election campaign and was almost certainly outspent by the Labour Party.
Perhaps most seriously for the long-term health of the National Party, this party's presence on the ground seemed negligible in 2020.
There are votes, especially the special votes, to be had through local activism – door-knocking, street corner meetings and visiting institutions like retirement homes and hospitals.
In bygone years, this aspect of campaigning was mastered by the National Party as evidenced by that party's dominance of special votes.
I can recall elections not long ago when a 500-vote election night majority for a Labour candidate might be insufficient to offset National's superiority in the special vote count.
In recent elections the Labour and Green Parties have out-organised the National Party to the extent that on both occasions National lost two of its election-night seats to a deficiency in the special votes.
This failure was pivotal in 2017 and cost Sir Bill English the election. In that year Winston Peters would have had no choice but to support National had it not lost two seats on special votes.
It may be that the 2.5 per cent increase in turnout over the 2017 election means that people who normally do not vote were attracted by the two referendums generating extra special votes, but a well-led voluntary organisation would have made the most of this heightened interest to harvest support.
One very pleasing aspect of the 2020 New Zealand general election and the recent elections in the United States for those who want democracy to flourish was increased levels of participation.
Improved turn-out in both countries is a turn-around from recent trends of participation in elections falling.
There is, however, a warning for all political parties in this election.
This is that voters are increasingly unattached.
Labour and National could rely on about 40 per cent of the vote each not too long ago. That number has been halved during the 21st century.
The lesson is that landslides going one way can go into reverse.
• Mike Williams grew up in Hawke's Bay. He is CEO of the NZ Howard League and a former Labour Party president.