Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a resounding victory in the New Zealand general election on Saturday, taking advantage of the success battling Kovid-19 and gaining an unprecedented outright majority and a chance to implement her reform agenda.
With a two-thirds vote counted, Ardern’s center-Labor party stood at 49.2 percent and was projected to take about 64 seats in the 120-member parliament.
No leader has won an absolute majority since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, which led to a succession of multi-party governments.
While the count has not been finalized, the figures say that opposition leader Judith Collins confessed after calling Ardern.
Collins cheered supporters in Auckland, saying, “Congratulations for your result, I believe this is an outstanding result for the Labor Party. It has been a difficult campaign.”
Her conservative national party was expected to take around 35 seats in about 20 years.
The Order’s performance defeated pre-election opinion polls and selected Labor for its strongest performance since 1946.
Party president Claire Szabo praised the charismatic leader’s campaign, who waved in support of the “Jacinda-mania” after the party came to power in 2017, as she was losing in the elections.
He said, “There is no doubt that we have strong, great leadership from Jacinda Ardern.”
Ardern had dubbed the vote a “Kovid election” and campaigned on his government’s success in eradicating the community’s transmission of the virus, causing just 25 deaths in a population of five million.
The epidemic is just one episode of a crisis that showed Ardern’s leadership qualities during the first round.
It displayed both sympathy and decisive action on gun control after the assassination of 51 Muslim worshipers in an attack on Christchurch mosques last year.
Ardern again finds himself resting in a shocked nation when a volcanic eruption on White Island, also known as Wakari, killed 21 people and left dozens with horrific burns.
“No matter what crisis is thrown my way, you will always be assured that I will give my all for this work, even if it means a huge sacrifice,” she said this week.
– ‘Extraordinary victory’ –
The Order faced criticisms during its first term for failing to deliver on some key promises, such as improving housing affordability and combating child poverty.
Greens co-leader Marma Davidson, whose party had aligned with Labor during her first term, said the prime minister now had the mandate to implement the change.
“I want to congratulate Jacinda Ardern and her team on a resounding win,” she said.
“The results show that the people of New Zealand want a strong, truly progressive government.”
Collins focused on the Greens’ audience, forcing Adren to adopt a wealth tax aimed at the upper middle class.
But its attacks failed to detect traction and the party looks set to have a significant fall in the votes recorded in the last election in 2017.
The conservative leader, known as the “crusher” for his harsh policies when the police minister in the previous government vowed to remain as the leader regardless of the outcome.
About 3.5 million people registered to vote with 1.9 million, or well over half, casting their ballots quickly – a much higher figure than in previous elections.
The vote was originally scheduled for 19 September, but was delayed by the virus outbreak in Auckland which is now contained.
Collins, who took charge of the National Party in July, when the party had three leaders in three months, the false start boosted the pace of his campaign.
Voters also cast ballots in two referendums, one on legalizing recreational cannabis and the other on legalizing euthanasia, although the results of those votes will not be known until October 30.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)