Preliminary results: 100% of the vote counted Harawira 5611 Davis 4744 Tipene 1026
Hone Harawira has kept his Te Tai Tokerau seat after quitting the Maori Party to form Mana but Labour's Kelvin Davis has slashed his majority in today's byelection.
With 100 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Harawira's majority is now 867, compared with 6308 majority in the 2008 byelection. With estimated final results, Harawira has 5611 to Davis' 4744 votes. The Maori Party's Solomon Tipene finished a distant third with 1026 votes.
Mr Harawira was defiant in victory tonight, attacking the Maori Party and telling his supporters that his Mana Party and the Maori Party he left would be reunited one day, once co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples retired.
It was fighting talk tonight as well from Mana Party interim chairman Matt McCarten who despite the slashed majority, said the Te Tai Tokerau seat was now "impregnable."
"It will not be taken," he told Mana supporters. "We go to the next election, we fight without uncertainty.
"Hone is now the leader of a movement."
Harawira said he would be ringing Dr Sharples but he was "hugely pissed off" with his former colleagues.
"Make no mistake about it; we shouldn't have had to go through this again."
Referring to the foreshore and seabed hikoi he said "we did our march in 2004, we went to the polls in 2005."
After addressing his supporters, Mr Harawira told reporters he wasn't worried that his winning margin had been slashed.
"When I go back to the House I'll be sitting on the front benches as the leader of the country's newest political movement. Absolutely I have the mandate."
Mr Harawira said he was never worried about losing the race. However, he was angry at the Maori Party for entering.
"They could have split this vote and destroyed the independence of the Tai Tokerau. The important thing is to try and rise above what I consider to be the quite petty and nasty politics of destroying me and allowing the seat to go back to Labour."
He said his wife Hilda was right when she said if he hadn't won that was going to be it for him and politics.
He said the Maori Party should be "very, very worried."
He got a real sense that the Maori Party was in "deep trouble" in other electorates.
Mr Harawira said that the Mana founding conference on Sunday in Whangarei would focus on some basic issues and commit to taking Mana on the road.
Annette Sykes is rumoured to be standing in Waiariki for Mana, though Mr Harawira would not confirm that.
"There's no guarantee that Annette will stand for any particular seat, but she will certainly be ... on the list."
He also hoped John Minto would stand.
Mr Harawira said the last few days had been extraordinary for the strange bedfellows the byelection had thrown up.
Prime Minister John Key picked Kevlin Davis to win and Mr Harawira saw that that as National backing Mr Davis - "not because National likes Labour, it's not actually because National's scared of me, it's because National is scared of all of you."
"They are scared if we win here we may win in a lot of other places and put their coalition partner to bed forever."
Labour leader Phil Goff said he is delighted with the close result, saying "Hone Harawira went out to cream this seat. That is what he thought he would do ... this is now the most marginal Maori seat."
He said Kelvin Davis had performed "brilliantly" during the campaign.
"He has enhanced his profile and he has enhanced his reputation and I think his mood is 'bring on November 26."
Davis told www.nzherald.co.nz earlier in the night he was excited by the closeness of the result.
"I'm glad to be within coo-ee."
While enrolment was high, voter turnout was low.
Only 11,606 of the 32,738 people enrolled actually voted.
Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia said the results were not those of a major win.
"What it has clearly indicated is that this is a seat that is quite volatile - over 20,000 not voting in the byelection.
"I think we have to take it as a really serious message that the vote for Hone has dropped so significantly."
She was disappointed at the Maori Party result and said Mr Tipene had worked hard.
"He gave his very, very best and we can be grateful."
She said the party had been left with no infrastructure in the north after Mr Harawira left the party.
At this stage there was no reason not to stand in the electorate in the November general election.
But she said the Maori Party would need to meet and take stock of what had happened.
"We need to look at the strategy we used and basically how we can do it better."
The byelection was forced by the resignation of Hone Harawira from the Maori Party and from Parliament to form the Mana Party.
Other candidates were Kelvyn Alp, OURNZ Party and Maki Herbert, of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.
The Electoral Commission said special declaration votes still to be counted are estimated to be 1,934 (14.3% of total votes) including an estimated 18 overseas votes.
The total estimated votes (those counted on election night plus estimated special votes to be counted) are 13,540.
Voter turnout for the byelection was estimated to be 41.36% of the 32,738 enrolled by yesterday.
Full results at: www.electionresults.govt.nz