Labour laments NZ losses as Greens, Maori Party surge

Ben McKay |

“I’ve still got a bit of fight left in me,” outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says.
“I’ve still got a bit of fight left in me,” outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Defeated and deflated, outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has given a less-than-enthusiastic response to questions about retaining the Labour leadership.

On Friday, the electoral commission released the results of the October 14 election, ending Labour’s two terms in government.

Other parties of the left, the Greens and Maori Party, cashed in and are celebrating their biggest-ever partyrooms.

“Come to Mama,” Greens co-leader Marama Davidson posted on social media alongside a picture of her 15-strong partyroom.

However, the left parties are all bound for opposition, with Labour bottoming out.

From the historic high of the 2020 election won by Jacinda Ardern, Labour cratered to 26.9 per cent of the vote under Mr Hipkins and faces a wipeout of almost half its caucus.

New Zealand Greens co-leader ‎Marama Davidson
Greens co-leader ‎Marama Davidson and her party have enjoyed their best-ever NZ election result.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to feel good about an election outcome like the one that the Labour Party has had,” he said.

“We’ve lost a lot of support and we need to reflect on that and we need to regroup and make sure that we are refreshing.”

Mr Hipkins sounded as if he had one foot out the door when he was asked how much he wanted to be in charge of the refreshing process.

“I’ve still got a bit of fight left in me,” he said.

“The Labour Party has always been very good to me … I’ve always done the right thing by the Labour Party and will continue to do that. 

“It’s a job that I enjoy.”

He said the party would convene “in the next few weeks” to plot a path forward.

The scale of Labour’s devastation was most stark in Auckland and the Maori seats.

In Auckland, it lost New Lynn, a seat it had held since 1963; Mt Roskill, which it had held since its formation in 1993; and held onto Mt Albert – the diamond in its crown – by just 20 votes.

New Zealand's Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis
New Zealand’s Labour’s deputy leader Kelvin Davis has lost his seat to a Maori Party candidate.

The inner Auckland seat has been held by Labour since 1946, including by prime ministers Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern.

Provisional winner Helen White faces a recount to discover whether she has clung on or suffered the humiliation of losing Labour’s safest seat.

Mr Hipkins said the party knew it was in trouble in the country’s biggest city after a sharp reaction to a long and tough COVID-19 lockdown.

“We saw our numbers drop significantly end of 2021, beginning of 2022, and they didn’t recover,” he said.

Labour was also ravaged in the Maori seats – at the last election, Labour won six of the seven seats, but in 2023, it lost six, all to the Maori Party.

Peeni Henare has provisionally lost Tamaki Makarau by four votes, while Kelvin Davis lost Te Tai Tokerau by 517 votes.

Mr Davis, Labour’s deputy leader, vowed to quit politics if he lost the seat.

Mr Hipkins said the fact Labour won the party vote in each seat while losing the electorate races showed Maori voters retained faith in his party.

Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was overjoyed by the final results.

“We have tripled the size of our caucus and are now set to grow our movement even more,” he said.

Meka Whaitiri and Rawiri Waitit
Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi (right) and party member Meka Whaitiri have much to celebrate.

“To win six of the seven Maori electorates is a huge endorsement from Tangata Whenua (people of the land) for our unapologetic and liberated voice.”‘

The right-wing ACT party also notched its best election result of 11 MPs, and is set to form government with centre-right party National and populists NZ First.


* Tamaki Makaurau (Maori electorate, Auckland) – Labour tourism minister Peeni Henare loses to the Maori Party’s Takutai Tarsh Kemp by four votes

* Te Tai Tokerau (Maori electorate, Northland) – Maori Party’s Mariameno Kapa-Kingi defeats Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis by 517 votes

* Hauraki-Waikato (Maori electorate, Waikato) – Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta loses after 27 years in parliament to 21-year-old Maori Party candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke

* Te Atatu (west Auckland) – Labour minister Phil Twyford overturns a 30-vote deficit in the preliminary results to win by 131

* Mount Albert (inner Auckland) – Labour’s 21,000-vote majority is whittled to just 20 as Helen White holds on to win against National’s Melissa Lee

* Mount Roskill (west Auckland) – Former Labour minister Michael Wood loses despite a 13,000-vote majority to National’s Carlos Cheung

* Tamaki (inner east Auckland) – ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden unseats Simon O’Connor for National’s only loss of the campaign

* Wellington Central and Rongotai (central and southern Wellington) – Greens duo Tamatha Paul and Julie Anne Genter claim safe Labour seats

* Nelson (South Island city) – Labour’s Rachel Boyack overturns a 54-vote deficit to win by 29 votes over National’s Blair Cameron