The special votes are in and it’s bad news for the cannabis referendum, and National

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The final results of 2020’s general election have been released, with National losing two seats, the Māori Party gaining a seat and the referendum results not changing.

The special votes were bad news for the National Party and an unexpected bounty for the Māori Party after the final results were released today. The referendum results did not change, with the cannabis question still failing.

The final result has the Labour Party winning 65 seats, up one seat, and with exactly 50% of the popular vote. The National Party, the core of the official opposition, shed two seats to 33 seats. The Māori Party not only kept its electorate win on election night but added a list seat with a slightly better party vote showing.

Act and the Green Party are still unchanged at 10 seats each. Chlöe Swarbrick held onto Auckland Central, with a margin of 1,068 votes.

With his victory in Waiariki assured, the Māori Party’s Rawiri Waititi will be joined by Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. The party was considered on life-support only months ago and few polls, if any, had expected that it would return to parliament with two seats.

“This was not a typical election. There were two referendums, another big increase in early voting, and for the first time, people could enrol on election day. The election was held in a Covid environment,” chief electoral officer Alicia Wright told reporters.

Three electorate wins on election night were overturned on the final result, all of them cases of National losing seats to Labour. Many of the seats were National strongholds which Labour had not expected to win.

Matt King, who held a contested Northland seat for National, lost to Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime by 163 votes. Denise Lee in Maungakiekie lost to Priyanca Radhakrishnan by 635 votes. Dr Shane Reti, National’s health critic in Whangārei, lost to Labour’s Emily Henderson. Reti will be the only one of the three to keep a seat in parliament due to his high place on the party’s list. West Coast-based Maureen Pugh, who was on a precarious place on National’s list, will stay in parliament.

The assisted-dying referendum still won in the end with 65.1% of the vote, with 33.7% opposed.

The cannabis result was tight in the end, with 50.7% opposed to legalisation compared to 48.4% who supported it. That’s better for the yes side than the preliminary result, which showed 53.5% opposed to 46.5% in favour.

With 82.2% turnout, the highest since 1999, nearly three million votes were cast in the election, at 2,919,086. In the final count, 67.7% of those votes were advance ballots. The parties will have until next Thursday to request recounts.

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