Welcome to our live election coverage. The Northern Advocate will be keeping you up to date throughout the evening on how the results are looking in the three Northland electorates and nationally.
11.29pm Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri
National's Matt King wasn't ready to tell his supporters he'd won the seat when they headed home from the Pioneer Tavern just after 11pm.
With a margin of less than 1000 and almost 20 per cent of polling booths, not to mention special votes, yet to be counted, it would be premature to declare victory, he said.
Because of the delay in counting special votes it could be another two weeks before he was sure he had won, he said.
"I'm just hanging on," he said.
"I'm disappointed so much support has gone to Labour on the back of Covid-19. It wasn't based on performance, it was based on fear. I feel sorry for my colleagues, we're going to lose a lot of talent and I'm going to lose a lot of friends."
11.23pm Jenny Ling in Kerikeri
With nearly 91.3 percent of the votes counted, Labour's Kelvin Davis is ahead by a 6139-vote margin.
Speaking from Labour HQ in Auckland, Davis said he was "very humbled that people in the Tai Tokerau electorate have asked me to represent them for another three years.
"I owe them a debt of gratitude," he said.
"I'd like to thank them very much.
"I've got to keep going out and winning their confidence. We've made some big gains in the First term of government. It's about maintaining that."
Davis congratulated the Maori party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi who has so far won 4615 votes.
"She's a wonderful woman and I'd like to congratulate her and thank her for the very good campaign she ran. It's the First time I've run a campaign where I haven't been bombarded with negative comments."
Kapa-Kingi conceded with good humour.
Kapa-Kingi - who whakapapas to Te Aupōuri and Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa and is ranked number 6 on the Maori Party list - said she was "excited and encouraged" with the number of votes she gained.
"It's the First time I've run, and the First time we have had a party up here for a couple of elections.
"It's an indication that not only for Tai Tokerau but across the motu there's a change, a Māori change for whānau. That's what I'm hearing, that's what people are responding to."
Kapa-Kingi extended her mihi to Davis and his whānau "to acknowledge where we've got".
"But I'm not going away," she said. "I'm starting campaigning tomorrow.
"I do think we want a particular type of change and I'm going for that over the next three years."
11:21pm Mike DInsdale in Whangarei
Despite being ahead on the night Dr Shane Reti said the gap is too close to declare himself the winner.
He said with special votes still to be counted, and the possibility of a recount, it was too early to claim victory.
11.07pm Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
With Reti's lead back down to 179 votes its unlikely that there will be a winner declared tonight with special votes to be counted, and the likelihood of a call for a recount, given how close it is.
10:44 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
National's Matt King appears to be one of the few swimming against the Labour tide sweeping New Zealand. With more than 70 per cent of the Northland electorate counted he has 11,296 votes, putting him 1017 votes ahead of Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime's 10,279. King is resisting calls from his supporters to declare victory, saying it's still too early and the margin too slim to be certain of winning.
10:33pm Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
With 80 percent of the vote counted, Labour's Kelvin Davis remains ahead in Te Tai Tokerau. He has a 4834-vote lead over the Maori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, who has 3870 votes.
The Labour Party has a 59.9 percent party vote lead over the Maori Party's 9.9 percent in Te Tai Tokerau.
10:33 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
The Pioneer Tavern, Matt King's election night HQ, is starting to empty out. The ebullient mood of an hour ago has gone, even though Matt King is tightening his hold on the seat with a margin now more than 1000 votes ahead of his closest rival Willow-Jean Prime of Labour.
10:30 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
The crowd at the Hope Church in Whangārei ia getting smaller, with about 30 remaining at present. Candidates Emily Henderson and Willow-Jean Prime are hoping for a last minute swing of votes their way.
10:21 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
It's a tense wait for Dr Shane Reti as the gap to Labour's Emily Henderson narrows. As the lead came down to 68 votes he gave a sigh almost of relief and said, "what a hoot". Reti said it is obvious there's been a big swing to Labour and he felt for his colleagues who have lost their seats. But he is still hopeful he can pull through.
10:15 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Willow-Jean Prime is feeling pretty relaxed despite trailing Matt King by 731 votes. She said she has set herself a three-term challenge to turn the seat to Labour and had been slogging away for three years.
On New Zealand First's exit from Parliament, Prime said it was worth recognising the contribution of that party particularly the Provincial Growth Fund's emphasis on infrastructure projects in Northland.
But she said NZ First's demise showed that politics was a brutal game in that people that played it could be popular MPs one minute and out of Parliament the next.
10:02 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
Labour's Kelvin Davis looks set to hold onto his Te Tai Tokerau electorate, which he has held for the last two terms. Davis is now winning by a margin of 4172 votes. He has 7540 votes, while the next closest candidate, the Maori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi has 3368 votes.
Davis won the electorate in 2014 with a 44.73 percent majority over Hone Harawira from the Mana Party.
During the 2017 election Davis received 12,673 votes, beating the Mana Party's Hone Harawira who received 7866 votes. Davis's win was by a margin of 4807 votes [54 percent].
10pm Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Emily Henderson is upbeat despite Dr Shane Reti catching up with just 222 votes separating the two. Nearly 65 percent of the votes have been counted and Henderson said she never expected to get thus far so no more pressure on her.
9:59 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
It's getting closer in Whangārei with 65.8 per cent of the votes counted (28,557) Labour's Emily Henderson still leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti, Henderson has a lead of 114 votes, with 11,605 votes to 11,491.
9:58 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
The Pioneer Tavern in Waipapa has fallen silent as Judith Collins takes the stage on TV. "She's a great woman," Matt King shouts.
9:58 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
There's shock at Matt King's election night HQ in Waipapa at news that Shane Reti is behind in the Whangārei electorate, a seat he won in 2017 with a massive majority.
9:52 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
Matt King is now pulling ahead in Northland. With more than 50 per cent of the vote counted he is on 9532 compared to Labour's willow-Jean Prime on 8991 - a lead of 541.
9:51 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 60.4 per cent of the votes counted (27,337) Labour's Emily Henderson still leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti, but he gap is closing further. Henderson has a lead of 363 votes, with 11,239 votes to 10,876. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 47 per cent to National's 26.3 per cent.
9:45 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 56.8 per cent of the votes counted (26,248) Labour's Emily Henderson still leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti, but he gap is closing. Henderson has a lead of 425 votes, with 10,838 votes to 10,413. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 47 per cent to National's 26.2 per cent.
9:42 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
In Te Tai Tokerau, Labour's Kelvin Davis is streets ahead with a 3870 vote margin. Davis has 6924 votes, well ahead of the Maori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi who now has 3054 votes, with 50.3 percent of the votes counted.
9:34 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 49.5 per cent of the votes counted (22,744) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 506 votes, with 9,487 votes to 8,981. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 47.5 per cent to National's 26 per cent.
9:27 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 45 per cent of the votes counted (21,798) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 574 votes, with 9,167 votes to 8,593. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 47.8 per cent to National's 26 per cent.
9:26 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
Winston Peters in Russell, as it became clear his party was out of Parliament.
''For all those people who voted for NZ First our supporters and the volunteers who worked in the most difficult of circumstances thanks for all your efforts.
"Elections are about democracy and what the people wish and we should never stop trusting the people.
"We committed ourselves three years ago to be a constructive partner in government and to provide certainty in a vastly changing world.
"Three years ago we predicted an economic crises and sadly it's here. If there's one cause for concern it is that the economic crisis is not properly understood.
"To those who have been successful tonight our best wishes.
"In a challenge it's the preparedness to stand up and take it on, win or lose.
"As to the next challenge you will have to wait and see. God bless you and God bless New Zealand.''
9:25 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
King has widened his lead with 38 per cent of the vote counted though the gap remains narrow. King 8715, Prime 8489, a margin of 226.
9:22pm David Fisher in Russell:
Peters offered congratulations and best wishes to those who had been successful tonight. "God bless you and god bless New Zealand," he said, in the shortest election night speech he has ever given.
9:19pm David Fisher in Russell:
Winston Peters has arrived.
9:18 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
Northland MP Matt King said his seat was still "on a knife edge" though with only a quarter of booths counted it was still too early to call.
He had grave concerns, however, for his party and the fate of some of his colleagues.
"I'm quite shocked at the result so far in terms of the party. There are blue seats that look like they're going to go red. It's tense, anxious times. It's because of the Covid cow they [Labour] have milked for all it's worth.
"Before Covid they were looking at a one-term government. Now the result has been turned on its head, and that doesn't seem right."
"I'm really concerned that we're going to lose some really good, talented, experienced people, and that's the saddest part of it. We're going to be saying goodbye to some really good MPs. But that's political life, you just have to go with it."
9:03 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 33.3 per cent of the votes counted (19,083) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 727 votes, with 8,068 votes to 7,295. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 48.6 per cent to National's 25.9 per cent.
9:03 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
Meanwhile Labour is leading the party votes in the electorate with 6085 votes, followed by the Māori party's 1007 votes, Greens have got 757, NZ First 661 votes, and National 346 votes.
9:03 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 31.5 per cent of the votes counted (18,740) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 8,068 votes to 7,295. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 48.8 per cent to National's 25.8 per cent.
9:01 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
The gap keeps getting wider for sitting Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis who is also the deputy Labour leader, who is now leading by a margin of 3692 votes. Davis has so far received 5597 votes, followed by Māori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi with 2516 votes.
8:58 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
In Northland Labour is far ahead of National in the party vote - a remarkable result for this traditionally blue seat. With 23.5 per cent of the votes counted in the Northland electorate Labour has 8997, National 5807, Act 1999, Greens 1235 and NZ First a distant fifth with 1081.
In 2017 National easily won the party vote in Northland with 46.3 per cent, compared to Labour's 30.1 per cent and NZ First's 13.2 per cent.
8:58 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Emily Henderson is powering ahead with 789 more votes than incumbent Whangārei electorate MP Dr Shane Jones. Nearly 31 per cent of votes have been cast and Henderson is on 8048 votes compared with Dr Reti's 7259 votes. Labour's party vote is at 48.8 per cent and National is on 25.8 per cent.
8:56pm: David Fisher in Russell:
Winston Peters is expected any moment at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell where NZ First MP Shane Jones has just spoken to the small and largely deflated group of supporters.
Jones said the results of tonight would be the "fruits of democracy" however the night ended for the party.
But he added that it should be said he and NZ First has stuck to its promise to the regions of the country, pumping investment into areas long neglected.
"No one will ever say of the last three years that NZ First and Shane Jones, for the North and the provinces, did not deliver.
"Northland sadly had been neglected for a long period of time."
8:51 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Russell as Shane Jones realised he would not win the seat and NZ First was likely to miss out on Parliament.
''With the disruptiveness of Covid I stand before you as somebody who made a promise three years ago to deliver for the provinces and the region of Northland. And irrespective of the final ebb and flow of the inevitable political results no one will ever say over the last three years that NZ First and Shane Jones and for Northland and other provinces we did not deliver.
''That's something our mokopuna the community and others should take pride in because sadly Northland and other regions have been neglected for along time.''
8:47pm: NZ Herald reports:
With 33.5 per cent of the vote counted, Winston Peters and New Zealand First's hopes of retaining in Parliament appear to be sinking. Peters' party is on just 2.3 per cent.
8:46 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 22.5 per cent of the votes counted (16,000) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 7,004 votes to 6,151. In the party vote in the electorate Labour has got 49.4 per cent to National's 25.6 per cent.
8:40 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 19.8 per cent of the votes counted (14,350) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 6,255 votes to 5,630.
8:37 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
With nearly 20 per cent of the votes counted, incumbent Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis of the Labour Party, is leading with 4720 votes, followed by Māori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi with 2105 votes.
8:36 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Emily Henderson has extended her lead over Dr Shane Reti by 515 votes. She's on 6008 votes to Dr Reti's 5493 with 17.1 per cent or 13,838 votes in the Whangārei electorate cast so far.
8:34 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
Reti said his scrutinisers at Whangārei voting places had noticed a lot of special votes being cast today, and more than normal.
He said that could mean some seats that were close may have to wait until after those special votes were counted during next week.
8:33 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
Speaking to Newshub in Russell, NZ First Northland candidate Shane Jones joked that his red face wasn't from "political excursion" but from being out fishing today.
His guests are rapidly consuming the John Dory he caught, he said.
As for results, where Jones is trailing behind National's Matt King and Labour's Willow-Jean Prime, Jones said "You've got to be utterly confident until all votes counted."
8:31 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
Whangārei was First created for the 1972 election when Murray Smith won it for Labour. It's been held by National ever since.
8:30 Peter de Graaf in Kerikeri:
15 per cent counted in Northland electorate. King 7417, Prime 7352, Jones 1993, Tana Hoff-Nielsen (Green) 654, Cameron (Act) 483.
8:26 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Whangārei electorate candidate Emily Henderson says it's too early to say whether she can wrestle the seat held by National for more than three decades.
She's not nervous or have any expectations. Henderson said Whangārei needed a strong voice for the vulnerable who needed more jobs and support to uplift their standard of living.
The last Labour candidate to be elected from Whangārei was in 1972- the year Henderson was born.
8:25 Peter de Graaf from Kerikeri:
A cheer rings out at the Pioneer Tavern in Waipapa. King is back in the lead by 24 votes. So far he has 7324 to Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime's 7300. Now 75. More cheers.
8:21 Imran Ali in Whangārei:
Labour's Whangārei candidate Emily Henderson is still ahead. With 15.3 per cent of votes cast, she has so far received 5135 votes to 4827 to National's Dr Shane Reti. Labour's party vote presently is 48.1 per cent while National's is 26.8 per cent.
8:12 Peter de Graaf from Kerikeri:
Matt King still confident of winning. If 60-70 per cent of the vote had been counted and he was behind he said he'd be nervous but not now. In 2017 he was behind Winston Peters until 9pm, when the big Kerikeri polling booths were counted and he pulled ahead, he said.
Looks of disbelief and shouts of "no!" as National's Matt King says he is trailing by 11 votes. Supporters are still confident however.
Prime now just three votes ahead of King. Just under 13 per cent of the vote counted.
8:12 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
At Dr Shane Reti's election HQ at the Whangārei Club in the city he was trailing Labour's Emily Henderson by 4,708 to 4,464 votes with 13.5 per cent of the votes counted.
But he was very positive with so few votes counted so far.
"Today has been excellent and it's the end of a very long campaign. But we are excited and the energy in the room is buoyant.'' Reti said.
''The cards will fall where they fall.''
He said this campaign has been the strangest ones, possibly ever, as it was held under the Covid-19 pandemic.
''Everybody is calling this the coronavirus election and that has changed things dramatically compared to previous election,'' he said.
''It's given the Government of the day unprecedented coverage at 1pm every day.''
And with National trailing Labour nationwide by 50 percent of the party vote to 26.6 per cent Dr Reti said there was still plenty of time to go with more than three quarters of the votes still to be counted.
8:08 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
Also in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate, Labour has 3704 party votes, compared to the Māori Party's 608 votes, Greens 401 and NZ First 388.
8:05 Peter de Graaf from Kerikeri:
With just under 10 per cent of votes counted in the Northland electorate the Labour party is well ahead in the party vote with 7496 to National's 4773.
NZ First's party vote has collapsed. So far the party has just 822 party votes in Northland placing it fifth behind Labour, National, Act (1652) and the Greens (1055).
Labour's Willow-Jean Prime has edged ahead of sitting National MP Matt King with 7181 to the incumbent's 7170.
8:04 Imran Ali reports from Whangarei:
With 12.6 per cent of the votes counted in the Whangārei electorate, the Labour candidate is ahead by 246 votes (4703 to National's Dr Shane Reti). Party vote is 47.8 per cent to Labour and 27 percent so far to National.
7:51 Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
With 10.4 per cent of the votes counted in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate, Labour's Kelvin Davis is bolting ahead with 2013 votes followed by the Māori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi with 894 votes.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party candidate Maki Herbert has 234 votes, then controversial Advance NZ Party co-leader Billy Te Kahika with 148 votes.
7:49 Peter de Graaf from Kerikeri:
Matt King's lead in Northland has widened with just under 8 per cent of the votes counted. He now has 5081 votes to Willow-Jean Prime's 4683. NZ First's Shane Jones is trailing far behind with 1182 votes. Green candidate Darleen Tana Hoff-Nielsen - who campaigned for the party vote only - has 426 votes.
7:45 Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 11.7 per cent of the votes counted (10,692) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 4,606 to 4,282.
7:45pm: Peter de Graaf from Kerikeri:
National's Matt King has just arrived at the Pioneer Tavern is Waipapa, accompanied by his wife Sara and supporters. About 60 people are now gathered at the pub awaiting results. The mood is upbeat.
7:40pm Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Whangārei with 9 per cent of the votes counted (8813) Labour's Emily Henderson leads incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti by 3809 to 3536.
7:38pm Jenny Ling in Kerikeri:
Labour's Kelvin Davis is leading the Te Tai Tokerau electorate with 851 votes, followed by the Maori Party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi who has 385 votes, a current margin of 466 with 6.2 percent of the votes counted.
7:36 Imran Ali reports from Whangarei:
About 100 Labour Party supporters have already gathered at the Hope Church on Hunt St in Whangārei.
The party's Northland candidate Willow-Jean Prime and Whangārei candidate Emily Henderson is also present.
Campaign manager Rex Morris said party faithful has been in the church hall since 9am today and he had never seen this amount of support for the party in the three elections he had been involved in.
Both candidates are in buoyant mood and with a good number of voters casting advanced votes this election, they expect results to come through by about 9pm.
Mike Dinsdale in Whangārei:
In Te Tai Tokerau with 5.4 per cent of the vote counted incumbent Kelvin Davis, from Labour, leads the Māori Party's Mariameno Kapa-King with 777 votes to 349.
Peter de Graaf reports from Kerikeri:
With just under 3 per cent of Northland electorate votes counted incumbent Matt King is in the lead with 1557 votes - but Labour's Willow-Jean Prime is hot on his heels with 1424 votes. That's a gap of just 133 votes.
Mike Dinsdale reports from Whangārei:
With 19 per cent of the vote counted in Whangārei incumbent National's Dr Shane Reti leads Labour's Emily Henderson by 581 votes to 572.
Jenny Ling reports from Kerikeri:
Newshub is reporting Labour's Kelvin Davis, who is in Auckland at the Labour Party gathering, has a limerick containing a blue taniwha he is looking forward to telling during the evening.
Davis is the leading candidate in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate by a margin of 72, followed by the Maori party's Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. This is with 1.9 percent of voting places counted.
David Fisher reports from Russell:
"Refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827," reads the sign outside the Duke of Marlborough at Russell, in the Bay of Islands.
Somewhere inside, upstairs, is NZ First leader Winston Peters. Below, half the ground floor is festooned with balloons - black and white - for the NZ First election night party.
Peters is usually reluctant to appear publicly on election night but the location has dictated his timing today, as it did last election when the Duke also hosted NZ First's party.
The passenger and car ferry from Russell to Paihia tend have their last runs about 10pm, forcing Peters out early than he might prefer to thank supporters.
This election, Peters is scheduled to speak at 8.40pm, leaving plenty of time to spend time with those who have made the trek to the Bay of Islands.
Somewhere between 200 and 400 people are expected for the evening.
The election night party is also a night for its Northland candidate Shane Jones, who - like Peters - is in his home turf of Tai Tokerau.
Peters' infamous relationship with media looks set to continue with those journalists gathered for the party given strict rules about when they can film and when cameras are expected to be packed away.
The instructions for media arrived just after 3pm, about the time media had started setting up for broadcasts that appeared to clash with the new rules.
NZ First has set aside a room for media in a bookcase lined rooms filled with titles that could tell the party's story. Like Peters, they are classics - Gone with the Wind, Last of the Mohicans and Pride & Prejudice.
There's also a copy of Sir Rob Muldoon's "My Way', published in the late 1970s. In it, Muldoon celebrates the arrival of Peters as a Maori MP who won in general electorate and calls it - and the election of three other Maori MPs - as "a major triumph for the National Party's approach to candidate selection".
It was an electoral victory won in court, securing Peters the seat of Hunua and one that "finally proved that Labour can no longer take the Maori for granted".
Muldoon also wrote that the party needed younger MPs, "but I do not subscribe to the view that we should chop the heads off our other members simply because of their age".
Peters would surely agree.