English determined to remain PM despite special vote results

In fairness to Peters though it's not a position that many of us would relish it's a decision that the country has to live with for the next three years

Judging by past elections the National Party could lose one or two seats in the final tally, which will count special votes which make up 15 percent of ballots and include overseas votes, said Oliver Hartwich, executive director of think-tank New Zealand Initiative.

The Electoral Commission's chief electoral officer Alicia Wright took questions from media about the time taken to count special votes. Labour has 46 seats compared with 45 and the Greens have 8 seats compared with 7 on election night.

"Regional development is surely going to figure highly.I think there's no doubt New Zealand First is shifting to be more of a provincial, country party and that the important points are going to be directly related to that development", said Bryce Edwards, political analyst at Critical Politics in Wellington.

The final count now opens the way for formal coalition talks to begin, with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters setting an October 12 deadline to announce which party he will back to form government.

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"Labour or the Greens or both of them are going to pick up the seats from National".

Special votes include votes that were cast overseas, votes by people who were not on the printed public roll and those who were not enrolled at the start of the election process.

Labour and the Greens will be hoping the results mean they are in a much stronger position in negotiations with New Zealand First.

Over the past four elections, dating back to 2005, Labour has constantly slumped in their percentage of special votes, decreasing from 44.58 percent (102, 532 total special votes) to 28.03 percent (84, 354).

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The official results for the General Election held on September 23, 2017 have been determined in accordance with the requirements of the electoral legislation. This has been done in the presence of Justices of the Peace and any scrutineers appointed by candidates.

Peters, whose nationalist party holds the balance of power, has said no decision will be made until after a final vote count is released on Saturday.

Comprehensive audit checks have also been completed at the national level to ensure the results are accurate.

Special votes cast totalled 446,287 or 17% of total votes cast.

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