Results from the 2017 General Election are in, but it could be weeks before the next government of New Zealand is decided.

Prime Minister Bill English led the National Party to 46 per cent of the vote and 58 seats, and they stand by ready to form a fourth-term government.

However, they will need Winston Peters and New Zealand First's nine seats to do so, being just shy of the 61-seat majority needed to govern.

Peters is set to consult with his party's executive and nine MPs before the negotiations with Labour and National. Peters said that if he was in kingmaker, October 12 was his "D-Day."


"We're going to go in with open minds for a kick-off," he said. "I don't want people to bring prejudice to the table. If you're going to make a decision in the national interest, you better know what you want as the outcome, economically and socially."

National's former coalition partners the Māori Party were wiped out of parliament, United Future's Peter Dunne had already resigned, leaving ACT's David Seymour as their only remaining friend.

"In the next few days, we will begin discussions with New Zealand First, finding common ground," English told the party faithful in Auckland last night. "We don't need to rush this process."

Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party, which won 35.8 per cent of the vote and 45 seats, will also be in negotiations with Winston Peters, hoping to form a Labour-Green-New Zealand First government.

Since becoming Labour leader just under three months ago, Ardern has taken the party to its highest result since the 2005 election. It was not as high as Labour had hoped when it set out to try to mobilise youth voters - something Ardern acknowledged last night.

"The final outcome of tonight's election won't be decided by us. It will be decided by MMP... I simply cannot predict at this point what decisions other leaders will make," she said.

Green Party leader James Shaw is hoping special votes still to be counted will give his party some bargaining power with Peters, pointing out that the two parties do have similarities in policy.

"We actually do have a lot in common and mister Peters has worked in governments right across the spectrum before," Shaw said. "Our MPs have got good working relationships with a number of his MPs."


Peters has been kingmaker, a label he despises, twice before but history is no indication of what decision he'll make this time around.

In 1996, he sided with National, working alongside prime minister Jim Bolger and later his successor Jenny Shipley, but the coalition ended badly when Shipley sacked Peters from cabinet.

In 2005, he sided with Labour, giving Helen Clark a third term as prime minister.