Prime Minister John Key expects to run a centrist Government for the next term with the support of Act, United Future and the Maori Party, with possible ministerial posts for those parties.

And he hopes the special votes will not deprive National of its majority of 61 seats in a 121-seat Parliament - and predicts they may take one seat off Labour and hand it to the Greens.

That would see Labour's Andrew Little out and the Green's Steffan Browning coming back in.

Mr Key met with his "kitchen Cabinet" and senior advisors this morning, and also called United Future leader Peter Dunne and Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

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His office has also spoken with Act MP David Seymour and he planned to speak to Act leader Jamie Whyte this afternoon.

He said it was "highly likely" that National would have confidence and supply agreements with Act, United Future and the Maori Party, as it has had for the past two terms.

ELECTION INTERACTIVE: Every vote, every seat, every result

He expected to discuss ministerial positions with Mr Dunne and Mr Flavell.

Asked about the possibility of the Maori Affairs portfolio for Mr Flavell, Mr Key said: "Ultimately that's a decision for the Maori Party. I think he would relish an opportunity to play a much more important role and Maori Affairs would be the obvious place."


Prime Minister John Key meeting with his senior ministers, from left, Gerry Brownlee, Bill English, Steven Joyce and Murray McCully, in his Parnell house. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He would not rule out a ministerial role for Mr Seymour, even though he had no parliamentary experience.

"I don't have a very strong feel for that yet. I just can't rule that out."

Mr Key said he expected Parliament to resume and the new Government to be sworn on October 20, but it would depend on a few factors, including how the special votes fell.
He hoped National would keep its 61 seats.

"They tend to favour the Greens. There's a bit of a chance that Labour loses one, and the Greens pick up one."

Mr Key said in light of the historic win, it was important for the party to stay grounded and not succumb to the risk of "arrogance".

"I don't intend to take the party veering off to the right. We've held the centre ground for the last six years.

"We're not looking to do radical things ... It's incredibly important that National stays connected with its supporters and connected with the New Zealand public."

He said Cabinet and caucus would meet on Tuesday to farewell retiring MPs and welcome the 15 new ones.

Reflecting on the campaign, he said Internet-Mana's Moment of Truth had hurt them.

"I do think that a lot of middle New Zealand sort of rejected their notion of a group of foreigners looking at having a very heavy influence on an election that is New Zealand's election.

"The timing of it was just so deliberately focused around one individual and his particular motivations, and to a lot of New Zealanders that was offensive."

He said the Greens should be disappointed with the election result of 10 per cent, because Labour had shed votes.

"Last night they should have been getting those Labour voters, and they just didn't show up for them. It's not a great result for the Greens."

He said David Cunliffe's leadership was a matter for the Labour Party - but there were hard questions to answer.

"It's easy to say that the public are wrong and you as a political party are right. You only start to gain support when you accept that the public are right and you are wrong."

View: Election night photo gallery:

Asked what he thought about David Shearer not ruling about a leadership bid, Mr Key said: "My expectation, having seen this kind of DVD before, is that it will get messy."

He did want to say whether Kim Dotcom had hurt the left's campaign.

"I don't think too much about they guy. I actually don't want to."

Last night Mr Key finally broke his alcohol ban, having a couple of beers and a glass of champagne. He headed to bed at 3.30am, but was up at 5.45am.

Read more of the Herald's election coverage here:

Election 2014: Dotcom's action's 'reprehensible' - Cunliffe

Election results 2014: Metiria Turei - It was Labour's mistake

Jamie Whyte: Act brand is 'tarnished'

Election 2014: Kim Dotcom says he 'poisoned' Internet-Mana

Election 2014: Cunliffe defends decision to stay on

Election 2014: Election delivers moment of truth

List of successful MPs

Colin Craig has spent $2.75m of his own cash on elections but never won a seat

John Armstrong: Cunliffe 'misread the public mood'

Tau Henare: A dramatic election for Maori voters

John Armstrong: Utter triumph for John Key