Chloe Swarbrick has pulled off a major upset by winning the coveted seat of Auckland Central for the Green Party.
The 26-year-old becomes only the second Green MP to win an electorate seat - 21 years after party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons won the Coromandel seat, which she held for just one term.
With 100 cent of the vote counted, Swarbrick had a winning margin of 492 votes. She was sitting on 9060 votes to 8568 for Labour's Helen White and 7566 for National's Emma Mellow.
Swarbrick said last night's results were exactly what she had always said, it was going to come down to voter turnout.
"I have been beyond privileged to be part of a movement of people who have believed that we can change things if only we participate and if only we build a community that people feel like they are a part of, so I'm proud."
She said her track record before politics was such that she knew arts and culture, the events and venue sector, small business - working with owners, operators, students and renters - over the past three-plus years.
"I've always felt public services is truly that, it's public service. You have to get out there, you have to represent people and you have to fight for them.
"If anything, what these results begin to reflect is that people are not willing to accept the status quo - that is representation that helps you navigate a flawed system on the ground but doesn't necessarily take those issues back to the house of representatives and change that system.
"I don't want to just be an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, I want to help people mobilise to change everything."
Swarbrick said her win was a testimony to building a community; without that, it would not have been possible.
"I've always said to all of our incredible team that history is not built by just one person, it is made thousands of people who come together to prove that things can change and that's what we have seen and will continue to push."
On the special votes, she said she had heard from a number of people who had attempted to cast them, particularly those overseas, and she felt they would be incredibly important for particularly younger voters who were enrolled at home but were now enrolling in the city in which they live. That would also be really meaningful when it came to the referendums.
"We can't take anything for granted until we are two weeks ahead of where we are now, but at this point indications are positive and I have heard from those who are overseas that they have a reference point for the work that I have done in politics in the past three years."
Swarbrick said to have more Green MPs in parliament being able to fight for the things that matter was "fricking fantastic".
"That's not just people who are able to negotiate behind the scenes but also votes, that stuff matters, and being in a position where we are to potentially form a coalition with the Labour Party, which polling has shown us the majority of New Zealanders want and that they don't want a one-party monopoly, all of these things speak to a surge to progressive thinking in Aotearoa New Zealand which actually mirrors where we were at not too long ago in a very similar economic downturn approximately a hundred years ago."
Two weeks ago, White was in front in a Q+A Colmar Brunton poll on 35 per cent, Mellow was on 26 per cent and Swarbrick was third on 26 per cent.
An earlier poll by Reid Research for Newshub Nation had White on 42.3 per cent support, Mellow on 26.6 per cent support and Swarbrick well behind in third on 24.2 per cent.
White ran in the seat in 2017, coming within 1581 votes of Nikki Kaye, who had held the seat since 2008 when she beat Labour's Judith Tizard, becoming the first National MP to win the seat.
Swarbrick, who ran a "two ticks" campaign, was unfazed by the Greens' poor electorate vote in 2017 and threw herself into winning the seat - as insurance in case the Greens did not make it over the 5 per cent party vote threshold to return to Parliament and with a burning desire to represent Auckland Central.
"What else is the point of politics, if it is not to practise the art of the possible," Swarbrick told the Herald last month.
Mellow, a 30-year-old communications manager at ANZ bank, was selected late in the piece after a messy and bungled process by party officials.
When Auckland went into a level 3 lockdown, campaigning stopped and she had an uphill battle to retain the seat held by her mentor, Nikki Kaye.
Mellow rose from humble beginnings - she was 16 when her mother, a sickness beneficiary, died and her grandmother took on a parenting role. She described herself as a young, liberal woman in the same vein as Kay.
White, who grew up in Freemans Bay and lives outside the electorate in nearby Morningside, practises as a barrister at Chancery Chambers in the central city, specialising in employment law.
As a 22-year-old, Swarbrick burst onto the political scene with next to no resources and came third at the Auckland mayoral contest in 2016.
Up until then, she was not interested in partisan politics, but had got to interview a lot of politicians during a four-and-a-half-year stint on 95bFM, the independent radio station based at Auckland University.
A savvy social media campaign that resonated with young and progressive voters during the mayoral contest was followed by Swarbrick earning a winnable place on the Green Party list in 2017 and becoming the youngest person to enter Parliament since Marilyn Waring in 1975.
Swarbrick told the Herald she comes from a Tory household where her father was a National supporter but is now a Green voter, and her nana remains a National voter.
"I was raised on a robust diet of politics and philosophy. To that extent I have always had a healthy appetite for critiquing and holding accountable those at the top of the pecking order."
Swarbrick, 26, grew up in Hillsborough but has spent the past decade living in Auckland Central at Beaumont Quarter, Freemans Bay, Ponsonby, Eden Tce and Newton Rd. She currently lives in the electorate in an apartment off Karangahape Rd.