New Zealand general election, 2017

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New Zealand general election, 2017
New Zealand
← 2014 23 September 2017 Next →

All 120 seats (plus any overhang) in the House of Representatives
61 seats needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout 78.8% (provisional)
  First party Second party Third party
Prime Minister Bill English.jpg
Jacinda Ardern - cropped.jpg
Winston Peters, 2011.jpg
Leader Bill English Jacinda Ardern Winston Peters
Party National Labour NZ First
Leader since 12 December 2016 1 August 2017 18 July 1993
(party foundation)
Leader's seat List Mount Albert Northland
(lost seat)
Last election 60 seats, 47.04% 32 seats, 25.13% 11 seats, 8.66%
Seats before 59 32 12
Seats won 58 45 9
Seat change Decrease1 Increase13 Decrease3
Popular vote 998,813 776,556 162,988
Percentage 46.03% 35.79% 7.51%
Swing Decrease1.01 pp Increase10.66 pp Decrease1.15 pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
James Shaw, 2014.jpg
David Seymour at ACT Selection Announcement for Leader and Epsom.jpg
2015 Portrait of Marama Fox 01 Cropped.jpg
Leader James Shaw David Seymour Te Ururoa Flavell /
Marama Fox
Party Green ACT Māori
Leader since 30 May 2015 4 October 2014 13 July 2013 / October 2014
Leader's seat List Epsom Waiariki / List
(lost seat/lost seat)
Last election 14 seats, 10.70% 1 seat, 0.69% 2 seats, 1.32%
Seats before 14 1 2
Seats won 7 1 0
Seat change Decrease7 Steady0 Decrease2
Popular vote 126,995 10,959 23,452
Percentage 5.85% 0.51% 1.08%
Swing Decrease4.85 pp Decrease0.18 pp Decrease0.24 pp

  Seventh party
Leader Damian Light
Party United Future
Leader since 23 August 2017
Leader's seat (outside parliament)
Last election 1 seat, 0.22%
Seats before 1
Seats won 0
Seat change Decrease1
Popular vote 1,469
Percentage 0.06%
Swing Decrease0.16 pp

New Zealand 2017 Election Results Map - Results By Electorate, Māori Electorate, and Additional Member Seats.svg
Map of the general election. Electorate results are shown on the left, Maori electorate results in the centre, and the additional members on the right.

Prime Minister before election

Bill English

Elected Prime Minister


The 2017 New Zealand general election took place on Saturday 23 September 2017 to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament. The previous parliament was elected on 20 September 2014 and was set to expire on 10 October 2017 if not dissolved earlier. It was dissolved on 22 August 2017.[1]

Voters elected 120 members to the House of Representatives, with 71 electorate members and 49 list members. New Zealand uses the mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, which gives voters two votes: one for a political party and one for their local electorate MP. Parties receive seats in Parliament in proportion to their party vote share; seats are filled firstly by winning electorate candidates and secondly by candidates on the party's list. Extra seats may be added to the house where there is an overhang, caused by a party winning more electorates than seats it is entitled to under the party vote.

Around 3.57 million people were registered to vote in the election,[2] with 2.56 million (78.8%) turning out.[3] Advance voting proved popular, with 1.24 million votes cast before election day, more than the previous two elections combined.[4] There were an estimated 384,000 special votes, whose votes will not be included in the results until the official count is completed on 7 October 2017.[5]

Prior to the election, the centre-right National Party, led by Prime Minister Bill English, had governed since 2008 in a minority government with confidence and supply from the Māori, ACT and United Future parties. It was the first election for English as incumbent Prime Minister, having replaced John Key on 12 December 2016. The main opposition parties to the National government were Labour (the official opposition), led by Jacinda Ardern, the Green Party, and New Zealand First.

Provisional results indicated that the National Party had won a plurality of the seats.[6] Support partner ACT retained its sole seat, which combined gave the National minority government 59 seats – two short of a majority. However, New Zealand First is in the position of kingmaker and could form a government with either the National Party or with Labour and the Green Party.

The election saw only five parties return to Parliament — the lowest since the introduction of MMP in 1996. This came as a result of United Future leader and MP for Ōhāriu Peter Dunne choosing to retire from politics and the defeat of his successor, and Māori Party co-leader and MP Te Ururoa Flavell being defeated in his electorate of Waiariki and the party's number of votes being below the threshold of 5%, resulting in the additional loss of the party's list MP and co-leader Marama Fox.

Electoral system

New Zealand uses the mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system to elect the House of Representatives. Each voter gets two votes, one for a political party (the party vote) and one for a local candidate (the electorate vote). If political parties receive a minimum of 5% of the total party votes they get seats in the House in proportion to the percentage of that vote they receive. 71 of the 120 seats are filled by the MPs elected from the electorates, with the winner in each electorate determined by the "first past the post" method (i.e., most votes wins). The remaining 49 seats are filled by candidates from each party's closed party list. If a party wins more electorates than seats it is entitled to under the party vote, an overhang results; in this case, the House will add extra seats to cover the overhang. The 2014 election saw a one-seat overhang where Peter Dunne won the Ōhāriu electorate when his United Future Party was entitled to zero seats under the party vote.

The political party or party bloc with the majority of the seats in the House forms the Government. Since the introduction of MMP in 1996, no party has won enough votes to win an outright majority of seats. As a result, parties must negotiate with other parties to form a coalition government or a minority government.

Electorate boundaries in the 2017 election were the same as at the 2014 election. There are 64 general electorates, 48 in the North Island and 16 in the South Island, and 7 Māori electorates. Boundaries are due to be redrawn in 2019, after the 2018 census.

Electoral law changes

The Electoral Amendment Act 2017 and the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Act 2017 made a number of changes to the conduct of general elections, including:[7][8]

  • Voters no longer have to complete and sign a new enrolment form if they are already enrolled and notify a change of address, for example, through New Zealand Post's mail redirection service.
  • The Electoral Commission no longer is required to send out nominations and polling place information to every voter by post; instead the Commission may use its discretion on how to advertise nominations and polling places.
  • Polling booths may now use electronic electoral rolls to mark off voters.
  • Counting of advance votes may now start earlier at 9:00 am (previously 2:00 pm), to take into account the increase in people voting in advance.
  • Contact information of sitting MPs, such as business cards and signage on out-of-Parliament offices, has been clarified as not constituting election advertising.
  • Election advertising is now legally prohibited in or near advance polling booths.
  • Election hoardings may now be erected nine weeks before the election (previously two months), so the first day always falls on a Saturday.
  • Parties are no longer allocated free airtime on Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand to broadcast opening and closing addresses.

Eligibility to vote

To vote in the general election, one must be:

  • on the electoral roll
  • aged 18 or over on election day (i.e. born on or before 23 September 1999)
  • a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, residence visa holder, Australian citizen or other person entitled to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.
  • lived in New Zealand for one year or more continuously at some point
  • have been in New Zealand within the last 3 years (for New Zealand citizens) or 1 year (non-New Zealand citizens); public servants and Defence Force personnel on duty outside New Zealand, including their partners and children, are not subject to this rule.
  • are not expressly disqualified from enrolling or voting (e.g. serving a sentence of imprisonment; convicted of a corrupt election practice).[9]

Date of the election

Unless an early election is called or the election date is set to circumvent holding a by-election, a general election is held every three years. The last election was held on Saturday, 20 September 2014.[10]

The Governor-General must issue writs for an election within seven days of the expiration or dissolution of the current Parliament.[11] Under section 17 of the Constitution Act 1986, Parliament expires three years "from the day fixed for the return of the writs issued for the last preceding general election of members of the House of Representatives, and no longer." The writs for the 2014 election were returned on 10 October 2014, a day late due to a judicial recount of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate.[12] As a result, the 51st Parliament would have expired, if not dissolved earlier, on Tuesday, 10 October 2017. Consequently, the last day for issuance of writs of election would have been 17 October 2017. The writs must be returned within 50 days of their issuance (save for any judicial recount or death of a candidate), which would have been Wednesday, 6 December 2017.[13] Because polling day must be a Saturday[13] and two weeks is generally required for the counting of special votes, the last possible date for the 2017 general election would have been Saturday, 18 November 2017.

On 1 February 2017, Prime Minister Bill English announced that the election would be held on Saturday 23 September 2017.[14] This will be the first election that both major parties, Labour and National are contesting under new leadership since 1975. If Bill English successfully defends the election, he will be the first Prime Minister appointed mid-term to do so since Peter Fraser in 1943.

Key dates relating to the general election will be as follows:[15]

1 February 2017 (Wednesday) Prime Minister Bill English announces election to be held on 23 September
23 June 2017 (Friday) The regulated election advertising period begins.
22 July 2017 (Saturday) Election hoardings may be erected (subject to local council rules).
17 August 2017 (Wednesday) Last sitting day for the 51st Parliament.
22 August 2017 (Tuesday) The 51st Parliament is dissolved with a short ceremony on the steps of Parliament House.[16]
23 August 2017 (Wednesday) Writ day – Governor-General issues formal direction to the Electoral Commission to hold the election.
Last day to ordinarily enrol to vote (late enrolments must cast special votes)
Official campaigning begins; radio and television advertising begins
28 August 2017 (Monday) Deadline (12:00) for registered parties to lodge bulk nominations of candidates and party lists.[17]
29 August 2017 (Tuesday) Deadline (12:00) for individual candidates to lodge nominations.[17]
30 August 2017 (Wednesday) Details of candidates for election and polling places released
6 September 2017 (Wednesday) Overseas voting begins
11 September 2017 (Monday) Advance voting begins
22 September 2017 (Friday) Advance voting ends; overseas voting ends at 16:00 local time.
Last day to enrol to vote.
The regulated election advertising period ends; all election advertising must be taken down by midnight.
23 September 2017 (Saturday) Election day – polling places open 09:00 to 19:00
Preliminary results released progressively after 19:00
7 October 2017 (Saturday) Official results declared
12 October 2017 (Thursday) Writ for election returned; official declaration of elected members (subject to judicial recounts)

Parties and candidates

Political parties registered with the Electoral Commission can contest the general election as a party. To register, parties must have at least 500 financial members, an auditor, and an appropriate party name.[18] A registered party may submit a party list to contest the party vote, and can have a party campaign expenses limit in addition to limits on individual candidates' campaigns. Unregistered parties and independents can contest the electorate vote only.

The following registered parties contested the general election:[19]

Party Leader(s) Ideology 2014 election 2017 election
 % party vote Seats  % party vote Seats
National Bill English Conservatism, Classical liberalism 47.04 60 46.03 58
Labour Jacinda Ardern Social democracy 25.13 32 35.79 45
Green James Shaw Green politics 10.70 14 5.85 7
NZ First Winston Peters Conservatism, Nationalism, Populism 8.66 11 7.51 9
Māori Te Ururoa Flavell / Marama Fox Indigenous rights 1.32 2 1.08
ACT David Seymour Classical liberalism, Libertarianism 0.69 1 0.51 1
United Future Damian Light Social liberalism, Centrism 0.22 1 0.07
Conservative Leighton Baker Conservatism, Fiscal conservatism, Social conservatism 3.99 0.24
Internet Suzie Dawson Collaborative e-democracy, Internet freedom, Privacy, Copyright reform 1.42 0.02
Mana Hone Harawira Tino rangatiratanga, Māori rights 1.42 0.13
Legalise Cannabis Jeff Lye Cannabis legalisation 0.46 0.27
Ban 1080 Mike Downard / Bill Wallace Opposition to 1080 poison 0.21 0.11
Democrats Stephnie de Ruyter Social Credit, Economic democracy, Left-wing nationalism 0.07 0.03
Opportunities Gareth Morgan Big tent, Radical centrism, Environmentalism not founded 2.21
Outdoors David Haynes / Alan Simmons Environmentalism not founded 0.06
People's Party Roshan Nauhria Minority rights, Cultural rights not founded 0.08

MPs who did not stand for re-election

Twenty-three members of parliament announced that they would not stand for re-election.

Name Party Electorate/List Term in office Date announced
Todd Barclay National Clutha-Southland 2014–2017 21 June 2017[20]
Chester Borrows National Whanganui 2005–2017 29 November 2016[21]
Steffan Browning Green List 2011–2017 15 December 2016[22]
David Clendon Green List 2009–2017 7 August 2017[23]
Clayton Cosgrove Labour List 1999–2017 10 April 2016[24]
David Cunliffe Labour New Lynn 1999–2017 1 November 2016[25]
Catherine Delahunty Green List 2008–2017 15 December 2016[22]
Peter Dunne United Future Ōhāriu 1984–2017 21 August 2017[26]
Craig Foss National Tukituki 2005–2017 14 December 2016[27]
Paul Foster-Bell National List 2013–2017 26 February 2017[28]
Jo Goodhew National Rangitata 2005–2017 25 January 2017[29]
Kennedy Graham Green List 2008–2017 7 August 2017[23]
John Key National Helensville 2002–2017 5 December 2016[30]
Annette King Labour Rongotai 1984–1990; 1993–2017 1 March 2017[31]
Sam Lotu-Iiga National Maungakiekie 2008–2017 13 December 2016[32]
Murray McCully National East Coast Bays 1987–2017 15 December 2016[33]
Sue Moroney Labour List 2005–2017 30 April 2017[34]
Jono Naylor National List 2014–2017 3 November 2016[35]
Hekia Parata National List 2008–2017 19 October 2016[36]
Barbara Stewart NZ First List 2002–2008; 2011–2017 7 March 2017[37]
Lindsay Tisch National Waikato 1999–2017 20 June 2016[38]
Metiria Turei Green List 2002–2017 9 August 2017[39]
Maurice Williamson National Pakuranga 1987–2017 26 July 2016[40]

Electorate-only or list-only MPs

  • Bill English, Steven Joyce, David Carter, and Jian Yang of National stood as list-only candidates (as in 2014).[41]
  • Andrew Little announced in January 2017 that he would not contest New Plymouth, but would run as a list-only candidate.[42]
  • Trevor Mallard announced in July 2016 that he would not contest Hutt South, but run as a list-only candidate, with the intention of becoming Speaker of the House.[43]
  • Labour announced in March 2017 that the party's six incumbent Maori electorate MPs would not contest the party list but would run as electorate-only candidates, in a challenge to the Māori Party, and to increase the number of Maori MPs in the Labour caucus.[44] After the August 2017 leadership change, it was announced that new deputy leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis would now contend the party list, as required by the constitution of the party.[45]
  • Metiria Turei, after announcing her intention to step down as co-leader of the Green Party, withdrew her name from the party list. She campaigned on behalf of the party in the Te Tai Tonga Māori seat and retired from politics at the election.[46]


Campaign expense limits and broadcasting allocations

During the three-month regulated period prior to election day (i.e. 23 June to 22 September 2017), parties and candidates have limits on how much they may spend on election campaigning. It is illegal in New Zealand to campaign on election day itself.[47]

For the 2017 election, every registered party contending the party vote is permitted to spend $1,115,000 plus $26,200 per electorate candidate on election campaigning during the regulated period, excluding radio and television campaigning (broadcasting funding is allocated separately). A party contesting all 71 electorates is therefore permitted to spend $2,975,200 on election campaigning.[48] All electorate candidates are permitted to spend $26,200 each on campaigning over and above their party's allocation.[49]

Registered parties are allocated a separate broadcasting budget for radio and television campaigning. Only money from the broadcasting allocation can be used to purchase airtime; the actual production costs of advertisements can come from the general election expenses budget. The Electoral Commission sets the amount of broadcasting funds each party gets; generally the allocation is based on the number of seats in the current Parliament, previous election results, and support in opinion polls. The initial broadcasting allocation was released on 26 May 2017.[50] The broadcasting allocation was revised on 23 August 2017, redistributing funds from parties that failed to register in time for the election.[51]

Party Broadcasting allocation
National $1,370,860
Labour $1,105,533
Green $530,656
NZ First $420,102
Māori $132,664
ACT $99,498
United Future $99,498
Conservative $55,277
Internet $55,277
Mana $55,277
Ban 1080 $44,221
Democrats $44,221
Legalise Cannabis $44,221
Opportunities $44,221
Outdoors $44,221

Third party promoters, such as trade unions and lobby groups, can campaign during the regulated period. The maximum expense limit is $315,000 for those promoters registered with the Electoral Commission,[52] and $12,600 for unregistered promoters.[53] As of 19 August 2017, the following third party promoters were registered:[54]


In a January 2017 poll conducted by Roy Morgan Research, 26 percent of respondents named housing supply and affordability as the most important issue facing New Zealand, while another 17 percent named poverty and income inequality.[55]


On 27 August 2017, National pledged a $379 million education package. New "digital academies" focused on IT training and similar to existing trades academies, would be introduced for 1,000 year-12 and 13 students at a cost of $48 million. There would also be investments of $126 million to improve maths achievements for primary school students and $160 million to give all primary school students the opportunity to learn a second language if they wished. There would be an expansion of the National Standards scheme that would allow parents to check the progress of their child via their mobile phone.[56]

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern announced on 14 August 2017 that the party is reinstating a 2015 pledge to assist school students to learn to drive and budget. Five driving lessons and the fees for the licence test would be free, and students would be taught life skills and budgeting.[57] On 29 August, Ardern announced that Labour would implement its 2016 policy of three years free tertiary education, starting with one year in 2018 and expanding to two years in 2021 and three years in 2024. She also announced a $50 per week increase in the student allowance and student loan living costs.[58]

The ACT party continues to support partnership (charter) schools, with intentions to allow state schools to convert into partnership schools.[59] ACT leader David Seymour said on 2 September 2017 that the party would give schools $975 million more, so long as they abandon nationally negotiated union contracts. Schools would be funded $93,000 per teacher in a bulk funding arrangement and would be free to allocate the grant how they wanted, with principals able to decide how much to pay individual teachers. Teachers' pay would be boosted by $20,000 on average, and the payments would reward good teachers and attract "our brightest graduates" to careers in teaching.[60][61]


According to Quotable Value, residential house prices across New Zealand have increased 34.2% between June 2014 and June 2017, from an average of $476,000 to an average of $639,000. In the Auckland metro area, the increase has been 45.5% in the same period, from $718,000 to $1,045,000.[62]

ACT announced its housing policy on 6 August 2017, proposing to scrap the urban rural boundary to free up land for those who want to subdivide and build, claiming that this creates room for 600,000 possible houses.[63]

Green Party leader James Shaw reaffirmed on 22 August the party's intention to introduce a capital gains tax, saying that it was "a priority" for the party and a measure "we want to see addressed in a first term of a new government." Shaw said the fact that New Zealand was one of the only countries in the developed world without a consistent capital gains tax had helped fuel inequality between "those who don't own a home and those who now own ten".[64]

Labour announced on 3 September it would extend the landlords' termination notice period to 90 days (from 42 days), abolish termination without cause, and limit rent increases to once every 12 months (from 6 months). This is in addition to previously announced policies of extending the "bright-line test" for taxing capital gains on residential properties from two years to five years, and abolishing negative gearing on investment properties.[65]


According to Statistics New Zealand estimates, New Zealand's net migration (long-term arrivals minus long-term departures) in the June 2016/17 year was 72,300.[66] This was up from 38,300 in the June 2013/14 year.[67] Of those migrants specifying a region of settlement, 61 percent settled in the Auckland region.[68]

Labour has promised to reduce net immigration by about 20–30,000 annually, partly by reducing the number of students enrolled in "low value" courses that are susceptible to being used as a subterfuge for immigration. The party says it would introduce a stricter test regime to ensure employers seek to hire New Zealanders before recruiting overseas applicants, and would require skilled migrants to stay and work in the region their visa was issued for.[69]

National planned to count migrants as "skilled" only if the job they were coming to paid more than about $49,000 a year, but the plan was opposed by employers who said their businesses would be put at risk by the blocking of foreign workers. Immigrants now only need to be paid over $41,859 a year – resulting in about 6000 more workers being able to stay in the country longer. Those earning less will be considered low-skilled and can stay in the country for a maximum of three years, after which a stand-down period applies before they can apply to come back. National plans to introduce legislation in 2018 that would raise the residency requirements for superannuation from 10 to 20 years.[69]

NZ First leader Winston Peters vowed to reduce net immigration to around 10,000 per year. Peters said that unemployed New Zealanders will be trained to take jobs as the number is reduced, and the number of older immigrants will be limited, with more bonded to the regions.[69]

The Green Party proposed that migration should be capped to 1 per cent of population growth, but later abandoned that policy due to the perception that the Greens were pandering to anti-immigrant rhetoric.

ACT has "long opposed populist attacks on immigrants", according to David Seymour.[70] ACT wants immigrants to "demonstrate they've earned above the average wage in their field" to get residency, and it will put an end to foreigners leaving their kids in New Zealand while paying taxes overseas by implementing an "infrastructure charge" of $10 per day for a maximum of a year for all migrants.[71]

The Opportunities Party (TOP) wants a change so that immigration would not be driven by student visas or reciprocal visitor working visas. The party would also abandon the requirement for highly-skilled migrants to have a job to come to.[69]

Rail transport

National Party leader and Prime Minister Bill English announced on 6 August 2017 that there would be a $267 million investment in Auckland and Wellington commuter rail, which would include (in Auckland) electrification of the line between Papakura and Pukekohe, a third line between Westfield and Wiri, and (in Wellington) double-tracking the line between Trentham and Upper Hutt, and several other improvements.[72]

Labour announced on 6 August 2017 that it would accelerate the building of a proposed light rail system between Auckland CBD and Auckland Airport so that it would be completed within a decade. The plan is part of Labour's wider transport improvements that would include a light rail link to west Auckland, an eventual extension of light rail to the North Shore, a bus network between Howick and the airport, electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe, a third main line between Westfield and Papakura, and other rail and road improvements.[73][74] On 21 August 2017, the party's leader Jacinda Ardern announced a $20 million plan for a passenger rail service linking Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. She said that the region would grow by 800,000 people in the next 25 years, and that rail was historically a fundamental travel mode and it was time that it was again.[75]

The Green Party announced on 17 August 2017 that it would introduce a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga on a trial basis from 2019. The party had previously said that its policy was to complete the electrification of the rail network between Auckland and Hamilton and extend electrification to Tauranga.[76] On 25 August 2017, Green party plans for a light rail line between Wellington Railway Station and Wellington Airport via Newtown were announced. The party would establish the line by 2027, and it could form the spine of an extended network north to Epuni via central Lower Hutt and south to Island Bay.[77]

Party campaigns


National is campaigning for a fourth term in government. If successful, it will be the first four-term government since the Second National Government (1960–72). National revealed the design of its first tranche of party hoardings in early July, featuring leader Bill English and the slogan "Delivering for New Zealanders".[78]

On 20 August 2017, English announced that the government, if re-elected, planned to build ten new "Roads of National Significance" at a cost of $10.5 billion. Four-laning the Hawke's Bay Expressway, a solution for the Manawatu Gorge road (closed after rock falls in April 2017 and a long history of such falls),[79] and a highway from Wellsford to Whangarei were included.[80][81]

The party announced on 13 August 2017 that it would create a new bootcamp for youth offenders at the Waiouru Military Camp. English said that there were about 150 "very serious young offenders". The justice minister said that a new Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification would be established for the group.[82]

Prime Minister Bill English and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced on 19 August 2017 that a new hospital costing more than $1.2 billion would be built to replace Dunedin Hospital, rather than refurbishing the existing building. It would be expected to open in 7–10 years.[83] On 21 August, English and Coleman announced a pledge that 600,000 low income people would have access to $18 doctors' visits. The Community Services Card would also be expanded to an additional 350,000 people with low incomes and high housing costs.[84]

The party's infrastructure spokesman Steven Joyce announced on 2 September 2017 that a National Infrastructure Commission would be set up to help expand and oversee public–private partnerships (PPPs). The commission would supervise large infrastructure projects, such as the building of new schools, roads, and hospitals, which would be built as PPPs. It was likely that the first project would be the $50 million rebuild of Whangarei Boys' High School, but several other large projects totalling several billion dollars were also being considered.[85]


Ardern campaigning at the University of Auckland, 1 September 2017

Labour announced it would reverse the tax cuts included in the 2017 Budget and instead increase Working for Families rates and introduce a new benefit for families with children under 3 years old. It also would introduce a winter heating supplement for people on superannuation and benefits.[86]

On 1 August 2017, party leader Andrew Little resigned on the back of poor opinion polling performance. Deputy leader Jacinda Ardern was unanimously elected leader by the party caucus, while Kelvin Davis was unanimously elected deputy leader to replace Ardern.[87] The leadership change saw a large boost in the Labour Party's support – the party had received $250,000 in donations and signed up 1000 volunteers within 24 hours of the leadership change, according to party secretary Andrew Kirton.[88]

The design for Labour's first tranche of party hoardings was released in early July, featuring both Little and Ardern with the slogan "A fresh approach".[78] After the change of leadership, the new hoardings solely featured Ardern with the new slogan "Let's do this".[89]

On 26 August, Ardern announced a plan to cut fees for visits to doctors. Community Services Card holders would be charged $8 for a visit to a doctor, teenagers would be charged $2, and under–13s would still pay nothing. The cost for an average adult would fall from $42 to $32.[90]

Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson announced on 14 September 2017, nine days before the election, that there would be "no new taxes or levies" until after the 2020 election. Any changes arising from its tax working group would not take effect until 2021. Robertson's announcement reversed the position taken by leader Jacinda Ardern who had reserved the right to implement changes before obtaining a mandate at the 2020 election, and came as a Newshub-Reid Research poll showed National rising at the expense of Labour. Labour had gone into the previous two general elections with a capital gains tax policy.[91]


The Green Party launched its election campaign on 9 July in Nelson. Bryce Edwards writing for The New Zealand Herald claimed the party's policies announced in the run up to the election show that: "After years of watering down policies and desperately trying to make themselves more respectable to the mainstream, they have made an abrupt shift to the left". One of the major announcements has been the party's new radical welfare reform proposals. Social policy academic and welfare campaigner Susan St John gave the social welfare reforms a "definite thumbs up", pointing to two "breathtakingly bold policies" within the reforms. These two aspects included in the reforms are, one: "sole parents to keep their sole parent support when they attempt to repartner. She is the one to say, not WINZ [Work and Income New Zealand], when she is in a partnership in the nature of marriage". A second aspect would be to make "the In–Work Tax Credit available to all low income families".[92]

The party also announced as part of its 'Families Package' it would lower the bottom rate of tax to 9%, introduce a new top rate of tax of 40% on those with an income over $150,000 and increase all core benefits by 20%.[93]

Another policy announced by the party is introducing an interim $0.10 per litre excise levy on bottled water. This would be in place until "a proposed working party helped develop a system to charge all commercial water users 'a fair amount'".[94]

On 16 July 2017, co-leader Metiria Turei publicly admitted that she had not disclosed to Work and Income New Zealand that she was accepting rent from flatmates while on the Domestic Purposes Benefit in the early 1990s,[95] and admitted on 3 August 2017 that she had registered a false residential address to vote for a friend who was running in the Mount Albert electorate in 1993.[96] On 7 August 2017,[97] MPs David Clendon and Kennedy Graham announced that they planned to resign as Green Party candidates for the 2017 election, due to Turei's revelations and her handling of the resulting situation.[98] Both Clendon and Graham resigned from the party caucus the following day,[99] after the party made moves to remove them involuntarily.[98]

On 9 August 2017, Turei resigned as co-leader and as a list candidate for the 2017 election, saying that the "scrutiny on [her] family has become unbearable".[100] She will campaign on the party's behalf in the Te Tai Tonga Māori electorate,[101] and will retire from Parliament at the election.[100] Per their constitution, the Green Party will choose a replacement co-leader at the next annual general meeting in 2018, leaving James Shaw as the sole party leader through the election campaign.[100][102]

On 21 August 2017, the party promised free public transport for students and those aged under 19, to be achieved by means of a "green card". Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the cost of the card would be $70–80 million.[103]

The party announced plans on 2 September 2017 to counter pollution by introducing a tax on farmers of $2 per kilogram of nitrate (fertiliser), which it said would raise about $136 million per year. The party would also distribute funds and allow concessions to the agricultural sector in response to declining water quality.[104]

Leader James Shaw said on 17 September 2017 that the party wanted a capital gains tax, exclusive of the family home, to be implemented in the first year after the election, if Labour and the Greens formed a coalition government. Labour had already said that if it became the government, any capital gains tax recommendations made by its tax working group would not be implemented until after the 2020 election.[105]

New Zealand First

New Zealand First launched its campaign in Palmerston North on 25 June 2017. Announced policies include ring-fencing GST to the regions it is collected from, writing off student loans of people willing to work outside major centres,[106] cutting net immigration to 10,000 per year, retaining the superannuation age at 65, and holding two binding referenda on whether Māori electorates should be abolished and whether the number of MPs should be reduced to 100.[107]

New Zealand First is also campaigning on increasing the minimum wage to $17.[108] They would later increase it to $20.[109]

On 31 August 2017, party leader Winston Peters announced a policy of relocating the Port of Auckland to Marsden Point by 2027.[110] Peters had vowed in July that a Northport rail connection to Marsden Point at a cost of up to $1 billion was non-negotiable in any post–election coalition between NZ First and either National or Labour.[111]


The Māori Party election campaign focuses on protecting indigenous rights. In previous elections their policies have included improving public transport with fewer emissions, giving tax breaks to lower income earners, taking GST off food products, and banning the use of controversial 1080 poison.[112] Their policies have not yet been updated on their website; however they did recently release a policy for a new rail scheme called IwiRail[113] which they say will open up the regions to freight and tourism. Since the 2008 general election, the party has provided parliamentary support to the Fifth National Government.


Since the 2008 general election, the party has provided parliamentary support to the Fifth National Government.

ACT has announced policies including tax cuts, with the top personal tax bracket reducing from 33% to 25%,[114][115][non-primary source needed] and raising the age of superannuation[116] from 65 to 67 gradually every 2 months starting in 2020.[117][non-primary source needed]

The Opportunities Party (TOP)

In taxation, the party would deem a minimum rate of return for all assets (including housing, land and business assets) and charge a tax on it. At the same time, reduce income tax rates so that the total tax take remains unchanged. The changes will be done gradually to ensure house prices remain stable while incomes grow.[118] The party considers the existing tax regime to favour owners of capital and to over-tax wage earners, to favour home-owners and to disadvantage those who rent their home, and to encourage investment in real estate rather than productive businesses.[119]

They would tighten immigration laws and shift the focus to attracting highly skilled migrants. Criteria for immigrants would involve demonstrating they can help improve the living standards of all New Zealanders, limiting net immigration to 1% population growth per annum (i.e. 47,900 based on June 2017 population),[120] and making access to permanent residency harder and longer.[121]

The party's founder, Gareth Morgan, announced plans to almost halve the number of prison inmates by 2027. Morgan said "New Zealand has some of the world's worst and most outdated criminal justice policies", and to reduce the prison population by 40%, the party wants to scrap the 'three strikes' law, extend eligibility for the Youth Court to offenders under 20, and increase funding for restorative justice.[122]

United Future

On 21 August 2017, United Future leader and sole MP Peter Dunne announced that he was quitting politics at the election, citing recent polling and his perception that there was a mood for change in his seat of Ōhāriu.[123] United Future's candidate for the Botany electorate took over as leader shortly after, promising to move his party towards Labour because of its stance on social issues.[124]

Major debates

Television New Zealand (TVNZ) hosted three television leaders' debates; two between the National and Labour leaders, and one where the leaders of the secondary and minor parties were also invited. The two National-Labour debates were to be moderated by Newstalk ZB and Seven Sharp host Mike Hosking. Hosking withdrew from moderating the multi-party debate due to illness; the debate was instead moderated by 1 News political editor Corin Dann.[125] It also hosted an online debate focusing on young voters and youth issues, moderated by Breakfast host Jack Tame.[126]

Three hosted one television leaders' debate between the National and Labour leaders on 4 September. The debate was moderated by Newshub political editor Patrick Gower.[127]

Fairfax again hosted a debate, the Stuff Leaders Debate (formerly called The Press Leaders Debate), between the National and Labour leaders on 7 September. It was moderated by Fairfax's South Island editor-in-chief Joanna Norris and Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins, and was streamed online.[128]

Date Organiser(s) Subject Participants
National Labour Green NZ First Māori ACT United Future Mana TOP
22 August Māori TV[129] Māori voters Absent Present
Absent Present
Absent Absent Present
26 August Three[130] Not invited Not invited Present
Absent Present
Absent Present
30 August ASB / Newshub[131] Finance Present
Not invited Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited
31 August TVNZ[126] Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited
4 September Three[127] Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited
6 September The Spinoff[132] Present
Not invited Not invited Present
7 September Stuff[128] Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited
8 September TVNZ[126][133] Absent Absent Present
Absent Present
Not invited Not invited[134]
14 September Stuff[135] Finance Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited
14 September TVNZ[126] Young voters Present
Not invited Not invited
19 September WWF NZ[136] Climate change Present
Absent Present
Absent Present
20 September TVNZ[126] Present
Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited Not invited


Unlike in other countries, political endorsements in New Zealand by media and people outside the political sphere are rare.[137] The following people and organisations have either endorsed the following parties and candidates:

National Party
Labour Party
Green Party
EpsomDavid Seymour for ACT

Opinion polling

Opinion polls have been undertaken periodically since the 2014 election, primarily by MediaWorks New Zealand, Roy Morgan Research, and Television New Zealand. The graph on the left below shows the collated results of all polls for parties that polled above the 5% electoral threshold at the 2014 election; the graph on the right shows results for parties that polled between 1% and 4.9%, or won an electorate seat, at the 2014 election.

NZ opinion polls 2014-2017-majorparties.png NZ opinion polls 2014-2017-minorparties.png

Seat predictions

The use of mixed-member proportional representation allows ready conversion of a party's support into a party vote percentage and therefore a number of seats in Parliament. Projections generally assume no changes to electorate seats each party holds (ACT retains Epsom, Māori retains Waiariki, Labour retains Te Tai Tokerau, etc.) unless there is a specific reason to assume change. For example, after Peter Dunne announced his retirement, projections stopped assuming United Future would retain Ōhāriu. Other parties that do not pass the 5% threshold are assumed to not to win an electorate and therefore gain no seats.

Radio New Zealand takes a "poll of polls" average to produce their forecast. The New Zealand Herald bases theirs on a predictive model incorporating poll data as well as past election results and past poll accuracy.[148] Newshub and 1 News and produce projections based on their own polls only.

When determining the scenarios for the overall result, the minimum parties necessary to form majority governments are listed (provided parties have indicated openness to working together). Actual governments formed may include other parties beyond the minimum required for a majority. This happened after the 2014 election, when National only needed one seat from another party to reach a 61-seat majority, but they formed a 64-seat government with Māori, ACT and United Future.

Party Newshub[149]
13–20 Sep 2017 poll [final]
1 News[150]
15–19 Sep 2017 poll [final]
Roy Morgan[151]
28 Aug–10 Sep 2017 poll [final]
Radio NZ[152]
as of 21 Sep 2017 [final]
NZ Herald[153]
as of 22 Sep 2017 [final]
as of 22 Sep 2017 [final]
Preliminary result
as of 23 Sep 2017
National 56 58 50 55 56 (±2) 54 58
Labour 45 46 49 46 47 (±3) 46 45
NZ First 9 6 7 8 9 (±2) 7 9
Green 9 9 11 9 7 (±2) 10 7
ACT 1 1* 1 1 1 1 1
Māori 2** 1 2 1 1 1 0
Seats in Parliament 122 121 120 120 120[nb 1] 120[nb 2] 120
Overall result (majority) National−NZ First (65) National−NZ First (64) Labour−Green−Māori (62) National–NZ First (63) National–NZ First (65) National–NZ First (61) National–NZ First (67)
Labour−Green−NZ First (63) Labour−Green−NZ First (61) Labour−Green−NZ First (63) Labour−Green–NZ First (62) Labour−Green–NZ First (63) Labour−Green–NZ First (61)
* indicates an overhang seat
  1. ^ The Herald's forecasted numbers are the medians of all likely outcomes for that party. The sum of the parties' forecasted seats does not necessarily equal the total likely seats in Parliament. In this table, "Seats in Parliament" is calculated by adding the number of forecast overhang seats to 120, even if the individual parties' seat projections do not add up to this number.
  2. ^ Stuff's projected numbers add up to 119, but this outcome is impossible. Calculation (based on exact percentage) shows that 120th and last seat would be allocated to Labour. Taking into account that the polling average have three significant figures it is not possible to decide which party get the last seat.


Preliminary results were gradually released after polling booths closed at 19:00 (NZST) on 23 September. The preliminary count only includes advance ordinary and election day ordinary votes; it does not include any special votes. Special votes include votes from those who enrolled after the deadline of 23 August, those who voted outside their electorate (this includes all overseas votes), hospital votes, and those voters enrolled on the unpublished roll.

All voting papers, counterfoils and electoral rolls are returned to the electorate's returning officer for a mandatory recount; this also includes approving and counting any special votes, and compiling a master roll to ensure no voter has voted more than once. Official results, including all recounted ordinary votes and special votes, are due to be released by 14:00 on Saturday 7 October 2017.

Parties and candidates have three working days after the release of the official results to apply for a judicial recount. These recounts take place under the auspices of a District Court judge (the Chief District Court Judge in case of a nationwide recount),[155] and may delay the return of the election writ by a few days.

Circle frame.svg

Party vote percentage

  National (46.03%)
  Labour (35.79%)
  NZ First (7.51%)
  Green (5.85%)
  Opportunities (2.21%)
  Māori (1.08%)
  ACT (0.51%)
  Legalise Cannabis (0.27%)
  Conservative (0.25%)
  Other (0.5%)
Presumed seating diagram after election night count.

e • d  Summary of the 23 September 2017 election result for the New Zealand House of Representatives[156]
Preliminary results with all polling booths counted.
Party Votes % of Votes Seats
 % Change Electorate List Total Change[a]
National 998,813 46.03 −1.00 41 17 58 −2
Labour 776,556 35.79 +10.66 29 16 45 +13
NZ First 162,988 7.51 −1.15 0 9 9 −2
Green 126,995 5.85 −4.85 0 7 7 −7
ACT 10,959 0.51 −0.19 1 0 1 0
other parties 93,491 4.31 −1.93 0 0 0 −3
total 2,169,802 100.00 71 49 120 −1[b]
Government parties
Opposition parties
party informal votes 9,344
disallowed votes
total votes cast
total electorate 3,569,830

Non-parliamentary parties

The following registered parties did not gain 5% of the party vote or win an electorate seat, entitling them to no representation in the 52nd Parliament.

e • d  Summary of party vote for minor unrepresented registered parties
Party Votes % Change
Opportunities 47,980 2.21 [c]
Māori 23,452 1.08 −0.24
Legalise Cannabis 5,847 0.27 −0.19
Conservative 5,316 0.24 −3.74
Mana 2,775 0.13 −1.29[d]
Ban 1080 2,439 0.11 −0.10
People's Party 1,629 0.08 [c]
United Future 1,469 0.07 −0.15
Outdoors 1,332 0.06 [c]
Democrats 732 0.03 −0.04
Internet 463 0.02 −1.40[d]
Minor parties, total 93,434 4.31 −1.93

Voting summary

Popular Vote
NZ First
Parliament seats
NZ First

Electorate results

Party affiliation of winning electorate candidates.

Of the 71 electorates:

  • 55 saw the incumbent MP re-elected.
  • 11 saw a new MP elected who was from the same party as the retiring incumbent.
  • 3 saw the incumbent MP defeated. (Christchurch Central, Northland, Waiariki)
  • 2 saw a new MP elected who was from a different party as the retiring incumbent. (Hutt South, Ōhāriu)

Hamilton West is considered to be New Zealand's bellwether seat.[157][158] Since the formation of the electorate in 1969, the winning candidate has been from the party that has gone on to form the government, with the exception of 1993 when it elected a Labour MP while National went on to form the government (albeit with a one-seat majority). Along with Hamilton West, Maungakiekie and Rotorua have been bellwethers in the MMP era, swinging with the government at every election since 1996. All three electorates in the 2017 election were won by National candidates.

The table below shows the results of the 2017 general election:


 National    Labour    Green    NZ First    Opportunities  
 ACT    United Future    Māori    Mana    Independent  
Electorate results of the New Zealand general election, 2017
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up Third place
Auckland Central Nikki Kaye 1,519 Helen White Denise Roche
Bay of Plenty Todd Muller 13,141 Angie Warren-Clark Lester Gray
Botany Jami-Lee Ross 11,785 Tofik Mamedov Julie Zhu
Christchurch Central Nicky Wagner Duncan Webb 2,265 Nicky Wagner Peter Richardson
Christchurch East Poto Williams 6,324 Jo Hayes Cathy Sweet
Clutha-Southland Todd Barclay Hamish Walker 19,524 Cherie Chapman Mark Patterson
Coromandel Scott Simpson 13,299 Nathaniel Blomfield Scott Summerfield
Dunedin North David Clark 9,904 Michael Woodhouse Niki Bould
Dunedin South Clare Curran 7,438 Matt Gregory Shane Gallagher
East Coast Anne Tolley 4,653 Kiri Allan Julian Tilley
East Coast Bays Murray McCully Erica Stanford 14,175 Naisi Chen Nicholas Mayne
Epsom David Seymour 4,776 Paul Goldsmith David Parker
Hamilton East David Bennett 5,531 Jamie Strange Sam Taylor
Hamilton West Tim Macindoe 6,979 Gaurav Sharma Shayne Wihongi
Helensville John Key Chris Penk 12,798 Kurt Taogaga Hayley Holt
Hunua Andrew Bayly 17,256 Baljit Kaur Jon Reeves
Hutt South Trevor Mallard[er 1] Chris Bishop 2,005 Ginny Andersen Virginia Horrocks
Ilam Gerry Brownlee 6,953 Raf Manji Anthony Rimell
Invercargill Sarah Dowie 5,167 Liz Craig Ria Bond
Kaikoura Stuart Smith 9,766 Janette Walker Richard McCubbin
Kelston Carmel Sepuloni 5,349 Bala Beeram Nicola Smith
Mana Kris Faafoi 8,688 Euon Murrell Jan Logie
Māngere William Sio 11,482 Agnes Loheni Elaine Dyett
Manukau East Jenny Salesa 10,035 Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi William Flesher
Manurewa Louisa Wall 6,506 Katrina Bungard John Hall
Maungakiekie Sam Lotu-Iiga Denise Lee 1,943 Priyanca Radhakrishnan Chlöe Swarbrick
Mount Albert Jacinda Ardern 11,877 Melissa Lee Julie Anne Genter
Mount Roskill Michael Wood 5,675 Parmjeet Parmar Ricardo Menendez March
Napier Stuart Nash 4,248 David Elliott Damon Rusden
Nelson Nick Smith 4,010 Rachel Boyack Matt Lawrey
New Lynn David Cunliffe Deborah Russell 1,886 Paulo Garcia Leilani Tamu
New Plymouth Jonathan Young 7,276 Corie Haddock Murray Chong
North Shore Maggie Barry 11,354 Romy Udanga Josh Hubbard
Northcote Jonathan Coleman 5,569 Shanan Halbert Rebekah Jaung
Northland Winston Peters Matt King 1,292 Winston Peters Willow-Jean Prime
Ōhāriu Peter Dunne Greg O'Connor 679 Brett Hudson Jessica Hammond Doube
Ōtaki Nathan Guy 6,042 Rob McCann Sam Ferguson
Pakuranga Maurice Williamson Simeon Brown 13,345 Barry Kirker Suzanne Kelly
Palmerston North Iain Lees-Galloway 5,319 Adrienne Pierce Darroch Ball
Papakura Judith Collins 6,916 Jesse Pabla Toa Greening
Port Hills Ruth Dyson 6,663 Nuk Korako Eugenie Sage
Rangitata Jo Goodhew Andrew Falloon 5,810 Jo Luxton Olly Wilson
Rangitīkei Ian McKelvie 9,664 Heather Warren Rob Stevenson
Rimutaka Chris Hipkins 6,838 Carolyn O'Fallon Talani Meikle
Rodney Mark Mitchell 17,678 Marja Lubeck Tracey Martin
Rongotai Annette King Paul Eagle 8,347 Chris Finlayson Teall Crossen
Rotorua Todd McClay 7,430 Ben Sandford Fletcher Tabuteau
Selwyn Amy Adams 17,625 Tony Condon Chrys Horn
Tāmaki Simon O'Connor 13,720 Sam McDonald Richard Leckinger
Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger 13,994 Hilary Humphrey Robert Moore
Taupō Louise Upston 12,994 Al'a Al-Bustanji Julie Sandilands
Tauranga Simon Bridges 10,270 Jan Tinetti Clayton Mitchell
Te Atatū Phil Twyford 2,055 Alfred Ngaro David Wilson
Tukituki Craig Foss Lawrence Yule 2,757 Anna Lorck Joe Kairau
Upper Harbour Paula Bennett 8,774 Jin An James Goodhue
Waikato Lindsay Tisch Tim van de Molen 13,933 Brooke Loader Stu Husband
Waimakariri Matthew Doocey 9,629 Dan Rosewarne Richard Prosser
Wairarapa Alastair Scott 2,746 Kieran McAnulty Ron Mark
Waitaki Jacqui Dean 11,513 Zélie Allan Alex Familton
Wellington Central Grant Robertson 7,057 Nicola Willis James Shaw
West Coast-Tasman Damien O'Connor 4,834 Maureen Pugh Kate Fulton
Whanganui Chester Borrows Harete Hipango 1,841 Steph Lewis Reginald Skipworth
Whangarei Shane Reti 10,159 Shane Jones Tony Savage
Wigram Megan Woods 4,040 David Hiatt Richard Wesley
Māori electorates
Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta 7,451 Rahui Papa n/a
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri 3,796 Marama Fox Elizabeth Kerekere
Tāmaki Makaurau Peeni Henare 3,031 Shane Taurima Marama Davidson
Te Tai Hauāuru Adrian Rurawhe 1,135 Howie Tamati Jack McDonald
Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis 4,270 Hone Harawira Godfrey Rudolph
Te Tai Tonga Rino Tirikatene 3,987 Metiria Turei Mei Reedy-Taare
Waiariki Te Ururoa Flavell Tamati Coffey 1,321 Te Ururoa Flavell n/a


  1. ^ Mallard did not re-contest the electorate this election, instead contesting the party list only.

List results

National Labour NZ First Green
Bill English (01)
David Carter (03)
Steven Joyce (04)
Chris Finlayson (09)
Michael Woodhouse (10)
Paul Goldsmith (18)
Alfred Ngaro (20)
Nicky Wagner (22)
Brett Hudson (30)
Melissa Lee (31)
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (32)
Jian Yang (33)
Parmjeet Parmar (34)
Jo Hayes (36)
Nuk Korako (42)
Maureen Pugh (44)
Nicola Willis (48)
Andrew Little (03)
David Parker (10)
Priyanca Radhakrishnan (12)
Raymond Huo (13)
Jan Tinetti (15)
Willow-Jean Prime (17)
Kiri Allan (21)
Willie Jackson (22)
Ginny Andersen (28)
Jo Luxton (29)
Liz Craig (31)
Marja Lubeck (32)
Trevor Mallard (33)
Jamie Strange (36)
Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki (37)
Kieran McAnulty (38)
Winston Peters (01)
Ron Mark (02)
Tracey Martin (03)
Fletcher Tabuteau (04)
Darroch Ball (05)
Clayton Mitchell (06)
Mark Patterson (07)
Shane Jones (08)
Jenny Marcroft (09)
James Shaw (01)
Marama Davidson (02)
Julie Anne Genter (03)
Eugenie Sage (04)
Gareth Hughes (05)
Jan Logie (06)
Chlöe Swarbrick (07)

See also


  1. ^ Changes are relative to the 2014 election results; in 2015 National lost one seat and New Zealand First gained one due to the effects of the Northland by-election.
  2. ^ Total reduced to 120 as an overhang occurred in the 2014 election but did not occur this time
  3. ^ a b c New party
  4. ^ a b Contested the 2014 election as part of Internet Mana, which won 1.42% of the vote.


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