WELLINGTON - New Zealand's ruling National Party has lost its election night absolute majority, but will remain in power with the support of coalition partners following the completion of vote counting Saturday.
The final result released by the Electoral Commission gives Prime Minister John Key's centre-right National party 60 seats in the 121-seat parliament, with partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party adding another four.
Preliminary figures following the September 20 election gave National 61 seats, but the Electoral Commission said after counting more than 330,000 special votes it lost one to the Greens.
"There are two changes compared to election night. The National Party has a total of 60 seats, one less than on election night. The Green Party has a total of 14 seats, one more than on election night," the commission said in a statement.
"There are no changes to the number of seats held by other parties on election night." The final result reduced National's share of the vote from 48.06 per cent to 47.04 per cent.
Key played down the outcome, noting no party had won an outright majority in the seven elections since New Zealand adopted a complicated proportional representation system.
"It's still a very strong election result - National has increased its number of seats in parliament," a spokesman for Key said in a statement.
"National has this week signed coalition agreements with the ACT Party and United Future and the prime minister will be making a similar announcement with the Maori Party tomorrow.
"The presence of these three parties makes National a stronger and better government and also means it will have a majority in the House over and above what is required for confidence and supply." National finishes one seat up on the previous election in 2011, while the main opposition Labour Party was down two to 32 in its worst performance in nearly 100 years.
Labour leader David Cunliffe has since resigned, but said he will stand again in a new leadership ballot.