National’s numbers leave stunned opposition groups counting the cost.
Election 2014 was a night to forget for the minor parties as the National juggernaut left the Conservative Party, the Greens, New Zealand First, internet-Mana, the Maori Party and Act reeling last night.
The Green Party, New Zealand First and internet-Mana hoped before polling day they had the goods to be part of a viable government.
The Maori Party, the Conservatives and Act had also hoped to provide more than just a handful of MPs into a coalition with a returning National.
But the writing was on the wall for the minor parties just an hour after provisional voting results started to be released last night.
One of the highest-profile victims was Conservative leader Colin Craig. Despite his pouring $2.8million into his party since 2012, the Conservatives failed to secure the required 5 per cent of the party vote to enter Parliament.
At the North Shore Golf Club party HQ with his wife Helen last night he put on a brave face, saying the party had grown its vote from 2011.
"We were in fifth place last time and it looks like it will be the same. That is the system and you have to live with that. That is the system and I don't like it much. But we are three years old, so that's solid."
He added: "The biggest problem is National has done so well, and we share a voter base with National."
Until Wednesday night it appeared Craig and up to five of his candidates might break into Parliament, where his party would have entered into a coalition with the National Party. But late-campaign bombshells - including the defection of his high-profile media adviser Rachel MacGregor - saw the party stumble at the last hurdle.
The Conservative's 2014 campaign was a dramatic rollercoaster ride.
The movement was repeatedly hamstrung whenever it made positive advances in the polls with a series of campaign clangers.
The most notable was just two days out from election day when MacGregor suddenly quit.
New Zealand First
Winston Peters will again be in Parliament in the 2014-17 term, but not on the terms he had hoped for.
The would-be "king-maker" will instead have to make do with another three years on the opposition side of the benches.
Peters hinted throughout the election campaign he would play hardball with Labour or National if they required his support to form a government. On the basis of last night's result of 9 per cent of the party vote, giving 11 seats, that was wishful thinking.
Last night he sounded a further warning that New Zealand was not enjoying a "rock star economy" and that there were "harder times ahead" for the nation. "Enough voters saw that we suffer from a two-tier economy, Auckland [and] Christchurch and then the rest of New Zealand, where so many of the provinces are suffering" he said.
"The time is tonight for reason and reflection, we are not living in a rock star economy and indeed this is a most uncertain time for anyone contemplating the next three years of government."
Peters said he was concerned at the "huge mountain of debt" that the country owed.
The Green Party
Co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei made it clear throughout the campaign they hoped to gain at least 15 per cent of the party vote.
But last night their party vote dropped on their 2011 showing, to 10 per cent, which would give them 13 seats. Turei said the campaign was a success, but the party was drowned out by other issues like Dirty Politics.
"It's not the result that we wanted, but we have held our vote," she said.
"There has been a slight shift to the right ... but to be frank, there's nothing I would do differently. We stuck to the issues. We did our best to get those out."
The Maori Party
Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell spoke days before the election of his hope that his party would win all seven Maori electorates. But last night the party secured just one electorate, Flavell successfully holding on to his Waiariki seat. It was unable to hold on to the Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru seats held by their now former co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia. But they should pick up an additional list MP.
Will return to Parliament with one MP, David Seymour securing Epsom thanks to backing from National Party hierarchy and supporters.They had hoped leader Jamie Whyte would gain a spot via a positive party list showing. "I've said repeatedly that Jamie Whyte is somebody that New Zealand cannot afford not to have in Parliament, so it's a great shame the result we've got tonight won't put him there," Seymour said.