- VOTES COUNTED: 37,772 - 100.0 per cent
- LEADING CANDIDATE: Louise Upston - 18,646
- 2nd CANDIDATE: Ala' Al-Bustanji - 13,392
- MARGIN: 5,254
- PARTY VOTE LEAD: Labour Party - 43.8%
- 2nd PARTY: National Party - 33.8%
National's Louise Upston has secured a fourth term as Taupō MP - but with a much smaller margin than in 2017.
Upston, who has been National's spokeswoman for social development and social investment, contested the Taupō electorate alongside seven others. She said she had been "blown away" by the support.
She won the seat by 14,335 votes in the last election, a 62.9 per cent majority of the 39,140 votes cast.
But this year Upston won by just 5254 in preliminary results - with 18,646 of the 37,772 votes cast.
In the party vote, National lost the majority of the party vote in the Taupō electorate in 2020, with just 33.8 per cent, after getting 53.9 per cent in 2017.
Labour took 43.8 per cent this election.
Upston spent the night with supporters, volunteers and family at the Taupō Yacht Club.
She said her smaller winning margin in the Taupō seat and the fact Labour had won the most party votes in her electorate this year, "reflected the bigger swing to Labour overall".
The 2020 election had produced a "challenging result" for all of National, she said.
Upston was "really pleased to continue to have the support of the various communities of the Taupō electorate".
"I will continue to work incredibly hard."
She was glad about the feedback she'd had, during the campaign, about her work responding to Covid-19.
"It is really clear that you can make a difference to the quality of people's lives as an MP."
In a statement on Sunday, Upston said: "I am grateful for the faith and confidence you have shown in electing me for another term as your MP."
Upston says National ran a dedicated campaign that offered solid policy options to ensure a strong economy and thriving businesses and communities to weather the challenging times ahead.
"National's values of strong families and communities are core to what we hold dear also during times of adversity.
"I look forward to being back as strong as ever to continue my hard work in service of the people of the Taupo electorate."
Labour's Ala' Al-Bustanji, contested the seat again this year, after being runner-up in 2017 receiving 10,276 votes, or 26.25 per cent.
This weekend's results showed his support swell to 35.45 per cent, with 13,392 votes.
But at number 71 on Labour's list, he won't be making it into Parliament.
Originally from Jordan, Al-Bustanji moved to New Zealand in 2009, sometimes working two jobs while owning and operating a small business.
Al-Bustanji shared pizzas and drinks with his supporters and volunteers, watching the "incredible results" come in.
He is predicting National will lose the Taupō seat in the 2023 election, and winning the majority of the party vote was "a great indication of this" in his opinion.
"We are going to be campaigning hard, starting now."
He said it had been an "interesting and exciting campaign" this year but there had been hard moments, such as seeing his hoardings vandalised, and seeing "disappointing" comments on social media.
Running alongside Al-Bustanji and Upston this year are Green Party candidate Danna Glendining, Act Party's David Freeman, NZ Outdoors Party's Michael Downard, Gary Michael Coffin from One Party, Antoinette James from Advance NZ and Jan-Marie Quinn from New Conservative.
Freeman said standing for the first time it had been "a great experience" that he "really enjoyed".
"My main drive was mainly advocating for the party vote."
He hoped to start an Act committee in Taupō before the next election and was going to join David Seymour's gathering in Epsom for election night, but had got sick this week.
Glendining was also focusing on pushing the party vote during her campaign, rather than vying for the seat.
"There has been quite a lot of work involved," she said.
Quinn this month confirmed she was convicted of fraud nearly 20 years ago for making up documents about the fictitious birth of a child.
The Taupō electorate covers part of the central North Island including Taupō, Tūrangi, Tokoroa, Putāruru, Tīrau and Cambridge.
The first person to represent the electorate was National's Rona Stevenson, who held it 1963 to 1972.