Final vote count in New Zealand election tightens close race

Both National and Labour have met for talks with the Mr Peters as they try to form the next Government

'We will continue our negotiations in earnest with potential support parties, beginning this weekend'.

In the 120-seat parliament, 61 seats are needed for a ruling majority. The Green Party, at 6.3percent, lost nearly five percentage points on its 2014 tally following a disastrous start to its campaign when co-leader Metiria Turei resigned over self-confessed benefit and electoral system rorts.

Why do Kiwis support NZ First?

In total, the incumbent conservative National Party received 44.4 percent of the vote, the Labour-Green alliance a combined 43.2 percent, and the nationalist New Zealand First party 7.6 percent.

Peters had said that he would not decide which party to back for a new coalition until the final vote count had been released.

'The fundamentals haven't altered, and that is National has significantly more seats than Labour, we are larger than a Labour-Greens combination'.

"They signalled very clearly that they wanted National to perform that role and we will now get on with the job of trying to give effect to their wishes".

A complete count is due on October 7 when "special votes" which make up 15 percent of the total and include overseas ballots are released.

New Zealand First said in an emailed statement that his party would hold discussions on Sunday with the National Party at midday and with the Labour Party in the afternoon.

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The Green party said the results showed New Zealand was ready for a change of government.

Winston Peters, a veteran New Zealand politician who has now held the balance of power three times, has in past elections formed coalition governments with both the National Party and Labour.

"This reinforces the mandate for negotiations to form a stable, durable and progressive Labour-led government, a government I would be proud to lead".

Neither the National party, led by a revitalised Bill English, nor the Labour party, led by Jacinda Ardern, have been in a position to take office after the 23 September election ended in a stalemate.

Shaw said that with the Greens and NZ First more evenly balanced at eight and nine seats respectively, there was "a case for a level of proportionality" in the allocation of Cabinet portfolios between the two minor parties.

But some say Peters could be swayed to go to National given it would be a straightforward coalition between two parties.

Labour's new MP is Angie Warren-Clark.

The two National Party candidates who will not now enter the next Parliament are Nicola Willis, a former aide to former National Prime Minister Joh Key, and Maureen Pugh.

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