In a historic day Northland has turned red, with Labour candidates Emily Henderson and Willow-Jean Prime winning the Whangārei and Northland electorates in final results of the 2020 general election released this afternoon.
Both electorates were on a knife edge after the October 17 general election.
In Whangārei incumbent National Party MP Dr Shane Reti won on the night over Labour's Henderson with 15,639, votes, compared to the first-time candidate's 15,475 for a slender 164-vote lead, the closest margin in the country. Reti won the seat in the 2017 election by 10,967 votes over Labour's Tony Savage.
And in Northland, incumbent National MP Matt King won 15,337 votes, 729 ahead of Willow-Jean Prime's 14,608. He had a 1389 majority in the 2017 general election over NZ First leader Winston Peters.
But after special votes were counted and the results released today, in Whangārei Henderson won 17,823 votes, compared to Reti's 17,392, for a 431 vote majority.
In the final Party Vote for Whangārei Labour got 20,942 votes compared to National's 11,602.
In the Northland electorate Prime got 17,066 votes, compared to King's 16,903, for a 163 vote majority. But given the closeness of the margin, King has said he will go for a recount.
In the party vote in Northland Labour got 19,997 votes compared to National's 12,496.
The result is an historic shock - this is first time Labour has held both seats at the same time - it had only held Whangārei once - from 1972-1975, and last held Northland in 1938.
It's also the first time ever that Labour won the party votes in both electorates.
Prime was ecstatic in the minutes after hearing the news she had taken the electorate - the first time Labour has done so since 1938.
"I was shaking when I found out," said Prime.
"I can't believe it. It is a dream come true."
Prime was well aware of the 82-year gap since Labour had won an earlier iteration of the electorate. The seat of Bay of Islands was won by teacher and trade unionist Charles Boswell for a single, extended, war-time term.
"I am humbled so many people voted for me," said Prime.
"I had always tried to be the best voice and representative for Northland in Parliament whether I'm a list or electorate MP.
"I knew when I put my hand up in 2014 it was going to be one hell of a battle in such a safe blue seat. It's been a roller coaster ride with so many twists and turns. I will continue to do the best I can for Northland."
If the final result for Northland is maintained after a recount it will see King leave Parliament after one term.
However, if Henderson is confirmed as Whangārei MP Reti wills till be in Parliament as he is highly placed on the National Party list.
Reti has yet to make a decision on whether to seek a recount.