Making the task harder for English, the tiny Maori Party, whose two lawmakers helped National reach a majority in the last parliament, has failed to secure any seats.
Meanwhile, Germans will vote on Sunday to determine whether Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive a fourth term in office.
"Bill English and National have taken the largest number of votes". "We go into negotiations with the intention of forming a stable government which enables this country to deliver for New Zealanders", he said. "Obviously we hoped for better", she said.
In an upbeat address to supporters that wasn't quite a concession speech, Ardern left the door ajar for approaches from Peters, saying the final outcome "will be decided by MMP", and "I simply can not predict. what decisions other leaders will make".
"This is going to come down to whether or not people turn out and vote", she said Friday. He spent eight years in that role before taking over the top job last December when Key resigned.
The full vote has yet to be counted, however with 97 percent the National Party was on 46.1 percent, Labour on 35.7%, NZ First 7.5 percent and the Greens on 5.8 percent.
No party has formed a majority government in New Zealand since proportional voting was adopted in 1996, and this election is unlikely to change that.
She appeared deflated addressing the party faithful after the vote, saying she had given her all and apologising for not achieving enough. And before that she can look forward to pointing her energised and enlarged caucus in the direction of a tiring fourth-term government, hobbling along with one leg tied to New Zealand First.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla Statement on Today's Election Commission Meeting
The existence of Donald Trump's " Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity " has always been a running joke. Kobach also said it's possible the commission will make no recommendations and just tell states "here's the data".
NZ First leader Winston Peters holds the balance of power based on the preliminary vote count in the 2017 general election, despite losing his Northland seat.
In her own speech to supporters, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern admitted she had not done as well as she would have liked.
English, 55, ran a more low-key campaign, highlighting his experience and the economic growth the country has enjoyed over recent years. He has also promised to address some of New Zealand's most pressing social issues such as child poverty and a housing shortage.
Opinion polls indicate there was a swing back to English in the waning days of the campaign after Ardern had all the early momentum.
Morgan, bellicose to the end, told Newshub he was "disappointed in New Zealanders, basically".
"We've got a lot of work in front of us still, not too much revelry". The elevation of Ardern to the leadership changed all that - she electrified the campaign and created a wave of excitement that saw her party jump to level pegging with National.
Ardern and English were expected to maintain fiscal prudence, but to differ on monetary policy, trade and immigration. He was seen by many as more of a numbers guy than a schmoozer.