New Zealand's Ardern wins 2nd term in election landslide

New Zealand's Ardern wins 2nd term in election landslide”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared headed for a landslide win and a second term in office Saturday during early vote counting in New Zealand's election. Typically, parties must form alliances to govern, but this time there's a chance Ardern and Labour will be able to go it alone.

Surveys ahead of the vote had suggested Ardern's center-left Labour Party would likely win reelection. "It's been full of uncertainty and anxiety and we set out to be an antidote for that".

Aspects of MMP are still healthy - the strong showing by both the Greens and ACT show that we're not heading back to the two-party dominance of the first past the post days, which seemed where we might have been heading after the 2017 election.

A Labour-Green coalition would be the first fully left-leaning government since the 1970s, a scenario that National's Collins warned would mean more taxes and an environment hostile to business.

Political commentator Clare de Lore told Kerre McIvor Judith Collins will need to step down, and National will need to reshuffle from the top down.

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.

Her popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to stamp out the coronavirus.

These restrictions were gradually eased over following weeks as new infections fell and the Labour Party's fortunes turned around, after trailing the National Party before the pandemic. No new community cases have been reported since late September.

But we have to ask if last night's result is what the clear majority of New Zealanders who voted for MMP in 1993, and again in 2011, thought was the way it would work.

The 40-year-old Ardern's calm and empathetic leadership, meanwhile, has been widely praised at a time New Zealanders were looking for reassurance.

More news: Health officials announce 155 new coronavirus cases in BC

Labour lifted its share of the vote to a preliminary 48.9% on Saturday from 37% in the 2017 polls.

Celebrations: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern enjoyed her victory with partner Clarke Gayford.

"Tonight New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years", she continued.

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

"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.

National Party candidate Judith Collins, suffering what the Herald described as "an absolute bloodbath", phoned Ardern to congratulate her on her "outstanding result".

The new government will not have much time to celebrate its victory as it turns its focus to preventing fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 and easing the pressure on the economy.

She says Collins has been handed an nearly inevitable defeat, and the party needs to start again.

The official election results will be released on November 6.

Votes in the two referendums on end of life choice and cannabis will not be counted on election night. Preliminary results for these are due to be announced on October 30.

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