Gunner and Labor returned as size of majority remains unknown
CHIEF Minister Michael Gunner and Territory Labor have secured four more years in office, with the possibility of holding anywhere between 13 and 16 seats.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro called Mr Gunner yesterday afternoon to concede defeat as it became clear Labor would claim the seats of Fong Lim and Arnhem and with it a clear majority to govern.
Mr Gunner, who on election night said he was "very confident" of securing a majority, declared a win late yesterday afternoon.
"There are still votes to count in some close contests, but today I can tell you that Labor will form majority government in the Northern Territory for a second term," he said.
"I do not see our victory as a reward, but as a renewal of our responsibilities to Territorians.
"I asked Territorians to stick with me and my team, so we can stay the course and see this through.
"Whether you voted for us or not - we will work for you, for all Territorians."
Ms Finocchiaro, who has effectively doubled the size of the opposition with more seats to come, said it was clear Labor would win majority despite a "strong, focused and energetic campaign" from the CLP.
In a statement confirming she had conceded, Ms Finocchiaro also delivered a warning shot to NT Labor for 2024.
"I called Michael Gunner a short time ago to congratulate him and the Labor Party on winning the election, and urged him to move immediately to take real action on the economy," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
"The rhetoric from the Gunner Government about 'saving jobs and savings lives' needs to stop and tangible action must be taken without delay.
"Now more than ever the Territory needs leadership and Territorians need to see early results from the government before they lose faith."
As vote counting ended for the third day, the CLP stood on four seats, with preference flows handing it Katherine and more than likely Daly, while six others remained in doubt.
Labor are ahead in Barkly, Blain, and Namatjira while the CLP lead in Brennan and Braitling.
Territory Alliance's Robyn Lambley is ahead of CLP's Damien Ryan by just a projected 21 votes.
The Gunner Government, which prior to the coronavirus pandemic looked to be in electoral strife, have made history along the way by retaining the seats of Port Darwin and Drysdale.
Frontbenchers Paul Kirby (Port Darwin) and Eva Lawler (Drysdale), under ABC election analyst Antony Green's projections, had swings toward them of 0.1 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
Political newcomer Mark Monaghan will retake Fong Lim for Labor, as preference flows extended his lead over CLP's Kylie Bonanni.
Blain remains too close to call but Labor are hopeful of taking the seat, in what would be a major upset for the CLP.
Arnhem MLA and Education Minister Selena Uibo came under serious threat from independent Ian Gumbula, though preference flows have put her quite safely ahead of the challenger by 100 votes.
It is expected that more details will emerge on who will take Araluen and Namatjira today, as the NT Electoral Commission continues the vote count and re-check in 16 seats.
Originally published as Gunner and Labor returned as size of majority remains unknown