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Now for election and counting day

Editorial

We’ve had the final poll, the final leaders’ debate and this is the final day of campaigning; all that is left is for the minority who did not vote early to cast their ballots tomorrow, and for the counting to begin.

That final poll by Colmar Brunton confirmed the high likelihood that the outcome of this election will be a Labour-Greens Government. Labour was down 1 on 46 percent and the Green Party advanced 2 points to 8 percent — a result that would deliver Gisborne another MP, Elizabeth Kerekere who is No.9 on the Greens’ party list.

The only glimmer of hope for National lies in the 14 percent, up 1 point, who said they were undecided or refused to say who they were voting for. Leader Judith Collins has been focused on appealing to the party’s base in recent weeks, to staunch and reverse the flow to ACT or any other minor parties; a tactic unlikely to peel off much of the softer support that has migrated to Jacinda Ardern and Labour.

NZ First and Winston Peters have a faint hope now too. They were up 1 point to 3 percent in the latest poll, which will encourage some undecideds who have voted NZ First in the past . . . although the numbers work against them as there does not seem a path to Labour needing, let alone wanting, NZ First’s support to form a government. It remains highly likely that election 2020 will see the end of Peters’ long parliamentary career.

Our East Coast electorate is one of a number being watched closely, in part to see if the swing to Labour will release National’s grip on the provinces but also because the incumbent has gone, setting up a duel between talented young Maori women. It could be a cliffhanger.

There is also strong interest in whether the Maori Party might return to Parliament via an electorate win or two, with the focus on Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauauru and Waiariki.

Polls close at 7pm and we’ll get a rough idea of the overall outcome within 10-15 minutes from the tallying of our record advance votes, counting of which starts at 9am. The Electoral Commission aims to have 50 percent of results available by 10pm and 95 percent by 11.30pm.

Special votes are counted after election day and they could be strongly pro-Ardern, with a fair chunk of them cast from pandemic-hit countries around the world.

Counting the referendum votes will take time; preliminary results won’t be announced until two weeks from now, on October 30. Official results for the election and referendums will be announced on November 6.