Election 2020: Judith Collins - 'We always knew it was going to be tough'
National Party leader Judith Collins has congratulated Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on the Election 2020 result.
Collins has spoken to supporters at a party in central Auckland.
With 74 percent of the votes counted, National has just 27.0 percent of the vote. At that number, it would have just 12 list seats and 35 total seats, meaning many of its MPs will be out of a job.
Speaking to supporters in Auckland's Westhaven this evening, she said she had phoned Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and congratulated her on the "outstanding result".
Collins said "we always knew it was going to be tough", as she thanked supporters.
"You've done everything we asked you to. Thank you to everyone who voted National. The next three years will be an opportunity for us to repay that trust."
She said the National Party will take time to reflect and will review and will change.
"National we re-emerge from this loss a stronger, disciplined and more connected party.
"And I promise you, the National Party will be a robust opposition. We will hold the government to account for failed promises and we will push on behalf of all New Zealanders for the government to do better for all Kiwis. So even though tonight has been a very tough night for us all, and the campaign a tough campaign, three years will be gone in the blink of an eye and I say to everybody - we will be back."
Collins said the MPs who will be leaving will be missed, and said she was sorry to see them go.
She thanked all the candidates who had not been successful, saying it took a lot of hard work to put your hand up and go for it.
She also thanked her husband David and son James. "Thank you for picking up the load when I was working every day and night. Thank you for lifting that load off me so I could give everything to the campaign."
She thanked party president Peter Goodfellow for his "unrelenting devotion to the cause", to the campaign team and deputy Gerry Brownlee.
"Tonight is the start of the next campaign. Bring on 2023."
She left the stage to claps and cheers of "Judith, Judith, Judith".
All information on the party's website appears to have been removed, and its Twitter account has been made private.