The centre-left has won the general election with news that Jenny Shipley, leader of the National Party and Prime Minister, has phoned Labour Leader Helen Clark and conceded defeat.
The news comes before the final outcome in the election is known with the fortunes of the Greens and NZ First now hinging on the electorate races in Tauranga and Coromandel.
With 41% (TV is incorrectly broadcasting 71% of polling places counted as percentage of the vote) of the vote counted National has 30.7% of the party vote to Labour's 38.4% and the Alliance's 8%.
The polls have not proved a reliable forecaster of the fortunes of the minor parties with ACT on 7%, the Greens on 4.8% and NZ First on 4.5%.
Neither the Greens nor NZ First will gain any representation in the new Parliament unless they improve their party vote standings or win a seat.
The vote counting appears to have gone slowly tonight and the final results seem likely to be contingent – heavily - on the special votes (particularly in Coromandel and Tauranga) which could take a further week to be finalised.
With 30% of the vote counted there are 91 votes in the Coromandel race. The Greens and NZ First are both running underneath the 5% threshold.