Voting has finished now, just around 7 p.m., and the mandate for 51st parliament is locked in electoral boxes waiting to be counted.

While the counting of all votes cast today would begin shortly and results expected to arrive around 11 – 11.30 p.m., the counting for advance voting cast till yesterday would have started already, and results are expected within the next 40-50 minutes.

It is this count of advance votes which have traditionally given the trends of nation’s mood and the electoral performances of each political party.

In 2014, National Party got 47.85 % of advance votes and ended up at 47.04 % at the final count.

The Labour Party’s corresponding ratio between advance and final votes was 24.49 % and 25.13 %.

Similarly, for minor parties New Zealand First and Green Party, the corresponding ratio between advance and final votes has been more or less accurate.

It is clear that the mood of the nation starts emerging in the advance votes itself.

This year, about 1 million votes have already cast advance votes till the end of Thursday, September 21, with Friday remaining.

Experts are of the opinion that by the end of Friday, September 22, almost 1.2 million voters would have cast their votes, which are nearly 500,000 more than last election’s total of 700,000 advance votes.

Experts are expecting a close photo-finish in this election with National Party clawing back its position after being initially swamped under the ‘Jacinda wave’ and holding a very slender lead over the Labours.

Currently, neither National nor the Labour are predicted to form a government on their own and would need the support of the likes of New Zealand First and the Green Party.

However, the earliest trend of what’s going to happen later tonight will be visible after the results of advance votes begin to arrive.

The Indian Weekender will be bringing live coverage of all the latest happenings in this election.