3 Nov 2023

Labour leader Chris Hipkins on final election results: 'It is likely we'll see some recounts'

4:01 pm on 3 November 2023
Labour leader Chris Hipkins, speaks to media after the final 2023 election count is announced.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins, speaks to media after the final 2023 election count is announced. Photo:

Labour leader Chris Hipkins says there are likely to be some recounts after final results showed some slim winning margins, but says it is now clear that a National/ACT/NZ First deal is required to get a majority.

Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins spoke to media on Friday, after the release of the final election results.

The National Party lost two seats after the results were released, which means it can not form a majority with the ACT Party.

Labour gets the same number of MPs total, but its wins for Rachel Boyack in Nelson (29 vote margin) and Phil Twyford in Te Atatū (131 votes) means two who expected to get in on the list - Shanan Halbert and Tracey McLellan - look set to lose their places, barring any resignations from sitting MPs.

Watch the media conference with Chris Hipkins here:

In his media conference today, Hipkins acknowledged the results and congratulated those MPs who had picked up a seat on the final results.

"There are still a number of seats where the margins are very very close. I think it is likely we'll see some recounts in electorate seats."

He said if Labour's Tāmaki Makaurau electorate candidate Peeni Henare wanted to call a recount in his seat - won by Te Pāti Māori candidate Takutai Tarsh Kemp by a mere margin of four votes - "he'll have my absolute support to do that."

"You generally don't call for a recount if you're ahead," Hipkins said, noting the very close wins for Labour in Mount Albert and Nelson.

But National had every right to call for a recount if it wished, he added.

Hipkins also took a moment to thank those MPs who would not be returning to this Parliament, "a number of those who are Labour members of this Parliament".

"The final result now being out does mean that Christopher Luxon can get on with the task of forming his new government. It's clear that a National/ACT/New Zealand First is required to get a majority in the new government."

Hipkins said "however long it takes" he is willing to lead the caretaker government.

He said there was a lot of vote-splitting between Labour and Te Pāti Māori in electorates.

"If you look at the party numbers there was strong support for Labour among Māori voters," he says.

Hipkins said Labour had lost a lot of support, "and we do need to reflect on that." But that he had absolute confidence in Labour's 34 MPs, who he said would be a strong opposition.

"Overall I think we do need to spend some time reflecting on Auckland in particular," Hipkins said, noting several seats that Labour either lost or which turned out to be very close. He said he wanted to rebuild the party's support in Auckland.

"Our own internal research showed that we lost a lot of support at the end of that (Covid) lockdown period in 2021."

Labour would hold a caucus meeting in the next few weeks to consider the future.

Asked if he wanted to stay on as leader, Hipkins said: "I've still got a bit of fight in me. ... I'm still absolutely committed to the Labour Party.

"It's a job that I enjoy."