Polls close in New Zealand's neck-and-neck national election

Polls have closed in New Zealand's national elections and the first results are trickling in for what is shaping up to be a close race between conservative Prime Minister Bill English and liberal challenger Jacinda Ardern.

Early results on Saturday showed English's National Party a little ahead of Ardern's Labour Party.

However, under New Zealand's proportional voting system, large parties typically must form alliances with smaller parties in order to govern. That means there's a chance there will be no clear winner on election night, and that parties may bargain with each other over the coming days or weeks to form a coalition.

Ardern, 37, has enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity since taking over as opposition leader last month. English, 55, has highlighted his experience and promised tax cuts.