Ardern’s Labour Party wins New Zealand election

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets Clarke Gayford at the Labour Party election night event as she claims victory in the general election in Auckland

But she signalled that she meant to adopt a centrist agenda, even though her centre-left party will now be able to pass legislation unimpeded.

Her poll numbers shot through the roof in the aftermath of New Zealand eliminating COVID-19 from the community and stayed there.

On the campaign trail, Ardern was greeted like a rock star by people who crammed into malls and spilled onto streets to cheer her on and get selfies with her. Now more than ever is the time to keep going, to keep working, to grab hold of the opportunities that lay in front of us so let's step forward together.

With over 96 per cent of the vote in, Labour has 49 per cent, giving them 64 seats.

Labour was on target to win an outright majority of the seats in Parliament, something that hasn´t happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. And she was praised for her handling of last year's attack on two Christchurch mosques, when a white supremacist gunned down 51 Muslim worshippers. A number of seats are reserved for Maori candidates.

Usually, no party gets enough votes to govern alone.

Parties often need to come to an agreement with other parties to form a coalition government.

In 2017, the National Party won 44.4% of the votes and on election night, then prime minister Bill English celebrated victory. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away.

Ardern enacted a lockdown when the isolated country of 5 million had just more than 100 coronavirus cases.

Aside from curbs on global travellers, life has returned to normal and restrictions have largely been removed.

Campaigning on the slogan "Build back better", Ms Ardern promised to focus on economic recovery but promoted relatively modest policies.

She pledged to support small businesses, boost vocational training, invest in infrastructure, address child poverty, and adopt tougher measures to reduce carbon emissions and support renewable energy.

She said the world was increasingly polarised but New Zealand's polls had shown that disagreements could be settled civilly, without exacerbating divisions.

National Party leader Judith Collins debates New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of the election.

"To Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who I have phoned, congratulations on your result because it is, I believe, an outstanding result for the Labour Party", Collins said in a televised speech.

In a speech to her supporters in Auckland, Ms Collins said she'd called Ms Ardern to congratulate her.

"We are living in an increasingly polarized world, a place where, more and more, people have lost the ability to see one another's point of view", she said.

"Three years will be gone in the blink of an eye and I say to everybody we will be back", Collins said.

The by then ex-Prime Minister, Sir Geoffrey, tweaked his title to Bridled Power to reflect the new political setup created to ensure multi-party government, with no single party or leader being able to operate without constraint.

She thanked her party's staff and volunteers for all their hard work.

The prime minister won global acclaim for her handling of a mass shooting a year ago by a white supremacist in Christchurch, with her inclusive "be strong, be kind" mantra and swift action to ban guns.



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