New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern carries homemade cheese scones as she arrives at an event to thank her electorate party workers in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday. Photo: AP/Mark Baker
world

Ardern wins landslide victory in New Zealand

60 Comments
By Praveen Menon

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's delivered the biggest election victory for her center-left Labour Party in half a century on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.

The mandate means Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades and will face the challenge of delivering on the progressive transformation she promised but failed to deliver in her first term, where Labour shared power with a nationalist party.

"This is a historic shift," said political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington, describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand's electoral history in 80 years.

Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country's unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

Ardern, 40, promised supporters she would build an economy that works for everyone, create jobs, train people, protect the environment and address climate challenges and social inequalities.

"We are living in an increasingly polarised world," she said. "A place where more and more have lost the ability to see one another's point of view. I hope that with this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are."

Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said she congratulated the prime minister for an "outstanding result".

Labour had 49.0% of the votes, far ahead of National at 27%, the Electoral Commission said, with 95% of ballots counted.

Ardern said she would wait until the final result to say if her government would include smaller groups like the Green Party, a former coalition partner that secured a bigger 8% mandate.

National leaders were decimated in their strongholds by young Labour candidates who appealed to voters with progressive, democratic messages, and highlighted the party's success in beating coronavirus.

"The last seven months of this government, all of the issues around their past promises have been put aside because of COVID-19. It's that simple," said Deputy National leader Gerry Brownlee who lost his long-held seat.

Despite the election's tilt to the left, Ardern "is likely to continue to chart a centrist course, largely aiming to implement incremental change that she hopes will outlast a future change in government," because she owes her victory to center-right voters who previously supported National, said Geoffrey Miller, analyst at political website Democracy Project.

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

She burnished that reputation this year with a "go hard, go early" approach to the new coronavirus, which has eliminated locally spread COVID-19 in the nation.

The election was delayed by a month after new COVID-19 infections in Auckland that led to a second lockdown in the country's largest city.

While known internationally for promoting progressive causes such as woman's rights and social justice, at home Ardern faced criticism that her government failed on a promise to be transformational.

Life is back to normal in New Zealand, but its borders are still shut, its tourism sector is bleeding and economists predict a lasting recession after the harsh lockdowns.

The economy shrank at an 12.2% annual clip in the second quarter, its steepest drop since the Great Depression. Debt is forecast to rise to 56% of gross domestic product from less than 20% before the pandemic.

New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalize euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on Oct. 30. The latter vote could make New Zealand only the third country in the world to allow the adult use and sale of cannabis nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


60 Comments
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 give it 6 months for the reality to hit home, more unemployment, more hurt ,worse economy, more debt, less homes, less promises fulfilled, more rights eroded.

saltiness is really bad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope the Kiwis don't legalize euthanasia. That's nothing but suicide/murder and it can lead to lots of murders. Nazi Germany did this to Jews and other 'undesirables'.

It looks like NZ is progressing if they legalize all uses of cannibus. Pot is legal in Canada and it's a big business there now, especially with Native American farmers. It has restrictions - don't DUI, you must be 18 or 19, and it's pretty much regulated like alcohol but it's not addictive. Marijuana is nowhere the 'demon weed' we've been told in school. It's a lie modern people don't believe anymore. I smoked grass when I vacationed in Canada last year, you just have to be sensible and responsible about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TrevorPeaceOct. 18  05:53 am JST

I wish I could clone her and bring her to Canada. 

I'd like to do the same for the U.S.A. Problem is unfortunately, women with brains don't get valued much in America. Too many Americans value women by their looks and that's it. Remember the sensation about VP-wannabe Sarah Palin, and see how stupid she is. Look at the dumb pop-tart phenominae that dominates popular music and films in America today. A female scientist this year found the first actual image of a black hole in action. A first in the field of astronomy but people like her don't get the credit they deserve. It ain't brains they get noted for, it's looks.

Sad to say America isn't ready for a female leader yet. And Hillary Clinton wouldn't been a real good POTUS either, her policies would've been her husband's policies from the back room because he has the political know-how and 2 terms of experience. He's done it.

Almost all famous women in America are famous for their looks and unfortunately many or most of those 'stars' are DUMB. And Ardem isn't dumb.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Americans, Brits, Auzzies this is what good governance is. Learn from it if you can so your countries do not continue along into the failed state category.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

trump, a one term, infected, impeached, obese geriatric.

Ms Ardern, a two term winner, a new mother, 40 yrs old.

In her tenure she has faced down a volcanic disaster, a mass shooting, and beaten the trump virus TWICE.

Roll On New Zealand.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

3 more years , NZ swirls around the toilet bowl , give it 6 months for the reality to hit home, more unemployment, more hurt ,worse economy, more debt, less homes, less promises fulfilled, more rights eroded.

@Strangerland @Reckless @Tobia.

What do you say we reconvene at this comment in 6 months and have a good, hearty belly-laugh and how totally and unabashedly wrong he was?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ Bjorn Tomention. What a pessimistic comment! Are you an renowned economist or a fortune teller with a crystal ball.? To me, she is one of the most inspiring leader in the world today and loved by her people.I wish her the best of luck.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It's as if they lived here and had a stake in what happened. 

I see it as the opposite: it's as if they had their ideas supplied to them by the hard-right/libertarian/"critical thinking" online cesspool. They're wholly ignorant about countries like NZ, but they're attracted to chancers like Farage, Hanson, Le Pen, Salvini and other wack-jobs like flies to a turd.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Strangerland

I love watching the extremist right freaking out that the left is so loved in such a first-world country with a high standard of multicultural living as NZ. Drives them nuts.

So true.

It's as if they lived here and had a stake in what happened. This has been a record-breaking landslide for Labour, which is an indication of the overwhelming vote of confidence by New Zealanders.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I love watching the extremist right freaking out that the left is so loved in such a first-world country with a high standard of multicultural living as NZ. Drives them nuts.

As a left leaning NZer, I am glad to see Labour get it with a solid majority so they can avoid being reliant on populist/nationalists coalition partners. However, after 9 years of National driving a huge poverty gap and creating a generation of landless individuals (my generation being the first in NZ where the majority will not be able to buy a house in NZ), there is real work to be done. Jacinda has done a good job build profile and leading through crisis such as the Mosque terror attacks and covid. This has lead to the historic victory. Now please fix the country and maybe I will be able I can repatriate in the future. Otherwise I will stick with Japan. Its more affordable in my experience.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

3 more years , NZ swirls around the toilet bowl , give it 6 months for the reality to hit home, more unemployment, more hurt ,worse economy, more debt, less homes, less promises fulfilled, more rights eroded.

Six more months for things that haven't happened at all to start happening and come to conclusion?

I love watching the extremist right freaking out that the left is so loved in such a first-world country with a high standard of multicultural living as NZ. Drives them nuts.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

My ghosh Bjorn Tomention! Did they deny your visa or something? By your posts NZ is way better off without you and your weird posts. If you read her bio you would see she is an extraordinary person and a very pragmatic and empathetic politician. People are literally falling over themselves to immigrate to NZ. The only negative point I can think of is the very high cost of housing.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

3 more years , NZ swirls around the toilet bowl , give it 6 months for the reality to hit home, more unemployment, more hurt ,worse economy, more debt, less homes, less promises fulfilled, more rights eroded.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

@arrestpaul

Amazing. A single party parliament. And it will only take 2 weeks to find out what the actual results of the election will be.

Well you haven't exactly grasped the term you quoted, have you? It was "single-party government", which is no cause for amazement. The New Zealand parliament remains multiparty, with Labour holding 64 out of 120 seats, which is also unamazing in a democracy, just a shift from the coalition governments that have been the norm since parliamentary reform in 1996.

As others have mentioned, the rightwing comments from Americans are interesting, as the idea that these people have any interest in a minuscule, remote, and perennially unimportant nation like New Zealand is farfetched. The animosity expressed by them towards Ardern is way out of proportion to who she is, what she represents, and any impact her government could ever have.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ardern is too close to china.

Collins is closer.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Bad move by the kiwis.

https://youtu.be/uJdSQTLYEsI

Ardern is too close to china.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It's always hilarious to watch people on the Right whinge about how any elected official who's to their left is going to destroy their nation. Turn it into some communist dictatorship or leave it a barren, Mad Max-ian hellscape - the very earth salted down to the bedrock. They'll implode the economy and everyone will have to eat boot leather or whatever other wild imaginings they might have about what "The Left" is planning on doing. And then, when all those things DON'T happen, they just completely ignore that inconvenient fact and simply pretend they were right and that New Zealand really is some kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland of Marxism and that everyone secretly hates it there despite the voters making it clear they love it.

It reminds me so much of those doomsday cults who, when the ordained date comes and goes without Armageddon, simply decide that "Oh, guess that time we were wrong BUT THE NEXT TIME, WE'LL BE RIGHT FOR SURE!" Sure! The Ardern didn't utterly destroy NZ like we said shew as going to, but NEXT TIME! Next time for sure!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sorry for no paragraphs lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good stuff. I’m happy it was such a decisive victory. The whole idea of MMP is good but it so often leads to uncertainty at election time and weakness throughout the term and this feels like people are tired of that. I’m a former National voter and hope to return but there has been zero from National since Ardern first came to power that I could bring myself to vote for. I have a hunch the next three years will be huge for NZ in one of two ways. We’ll see lots of good work and that will cement Labour as government for many more terms, or we’ll see the third term complacency set in early and people will knock Labour for six at the next election and set the stage for National to govern for a long time to come.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few peevish reactions here to a resounding win by that rare beast, a popular politician. In the eyes of Right-wingers Jacinda's crimes seem to be a) to be a successful and likeable female leader, and b) to be a successful and likeable female leader who dealt successfully with Covid-19 by means of lockdowns.

Even the losing National party leader dealt with her party's defeat (and conducted herself during the election) with more grace than the graceless reactions expressed by some posters on this page.

Congratulations to Ms Ardern and her party for the win, and may New Zealand prosper under her leadership. It won't be easy, but then running a country never is.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

With a mandate and a majority, no reason not to get more polices implemented.

This is one instance where I might agree with you. New Zealand cannot afford for more disastrous delivery such as what we saw with Kiwibuild. With a clear mandate, and no need to horse trade with coalition partners, hopefully this will allow Labour to get things done in a way they couldn't in their first 3 year term.

I would like to see Ardern distance Labour from the Greens (they are not an environmental party, but a group of hard-left socialists).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I wish I could clone her and bring her to Canada. Trudeau Jr. would go back to acting and living off his inheritence, if she did. But, such wistful, wishful thinking is for the truly uninitiated. Or for the many ignorant non-Kiwi commentators here.

Ardern, you go, girl!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

With a mandate and a majority, no reason not to get more polices implemented.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There is clear evidence of some strategic voting where some National voters, knowing their party would lose, voted Labour to ensure Labour could govern without the Greens.

Labour overpromised and underdelivered in their first term, let's hope that changes.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

All elections are. She got re-elected on how popular her policies and actions have been.

She did a great job of offering wage subsidies right up the election. Supporting that of 470,000 jobs.

Really wish the best for NZ, a great place.

Would have voted ACT myself, the only one making sense.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Congratulations to Ms. Ardern! . . . she has done a great job with COVID-19.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's a popularity contest

All elections are. She got re-elected on how popular her policies and actions have been.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

It's a popularity contest, congrats 'Aunty Jacinda' had it in the bag, let's keep the country closed to outsiders forever!

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

And it will only take 2 weeks to find out what the actual results of the election will be.

The final tally will take that long. But because they had a competent leader that shut down the virus, people didn't have to risk their lives to vote in person, meaning there won't be the same degree in uncertainty as there will be in the upcoming US election. When most of the voting is done in person, after counts are only needed in closely contested locations, and it's rare that there are enough closely contested seats that the winner isn't known immediately.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The mandate means Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades and will face the challenge of delivering on the progressive transformation she promised but failed to deliver in her first term, where Labour shared power with a nationalist party. 

...Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country's unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996. 

...New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalize euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on Oct. 30. The latter vote could make New Zealand only the third country in the world to allow the adult use and sale of cannabis nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada. 

Amazing. A single party parliament. And it will only take 2 weeks to find out what the actual results of the election will be.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What about the Netherlands (Holland) and Portugal ?

Those countries have only decriminalized it, not legalized it recreationally.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Who are these posters being so negative about Jacinda Ardern? Are any of them Kiwis?

Almost never. And they hate it that with her compassion and concern for the people, she doesn't follow their ideology of hatred and discrimination. So they try to claim she's a failure, even though the people of NZ are very clear that she's been a success.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Fighto!

I'm hearing the Greens and NZ First are polling very badly and may be wiped out completely from gov't, thus ending Labours chance of coalition. Ardern has made a promise to retire if she fails to be re-elected. 

I think big "Crusher" has this, just my gut feeling.

And the funniest comment of the day goes to Fighto! National were nowhere close and the Greens won more seats than last time. You did get right that NZ First were wiped out. No more Winston.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The latter vote could make New Zealand only the third country in the world to allow the adult use and sale of cannabis nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada.

What about the Netherlands (Holland) and Portugal ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If she does not get back in 

Labour Party  party 50 per cent of the vote compared to around 27 per cent for the National Party. it wasnt a landslide it was a slaughter, time for from screaming at the skies

6 ( +7 / -1 )

ZorotoToday  04:06 pm JST

This is what happens when the government is trusted to put people first, instead of stuffing their own pockets.

NZ eradicated the virus efficiently, now they don't even need to wear masks. Other countries should learn from this.

She cerainly seems to have taken CoVid-19 seriously and now it's not so much a problem for the Kiwis. And she didn't blame other people or dismiss it as a hoax like a certain uncouth undiplomatic bullychild who has done nothing but bring shame and disgrace to his country. At least we can say that PM Ardem has been doing her job. She didn't stir up diversionary strife or hide in a bunker or pop off her chops, did she? Think about it.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

More houses please...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Good news! Well done Prime Minister Ardern !!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Because she's trusted (for now). And who else is there?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Many men and some women as well cannot tolerate a resoundingly successful woman. Sexism is clearly alive and well on the JT board. The USA, UK even Australia would be lucky to have such a leader as opposed to the riffraff con artists and religious nutter in power now in those countries.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Ha ha, the CONservatives have already conceded!

So much hate. Wonder where it comes from...

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

Ha ha, the CONservatives have already conceded! 27% vote, LOL! That is a hiding!!

Well done Labour, well done Kiwis!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

She’s on the hymn sheet as the bad guy along with Trudeau and a few others.They just recite it.

The "others" all have a hymn sheet, but you think for yourself? Even when making such a blanket statement about people you don't know? The irony is rich here.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

Well done Labour, congrats to Ms Ardern. Destroyed the hapless, hopeless Nationals in a landslide! Too easy!

What a rabble CON-servatives are. Bunker boy Trump is next against the wall.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

The only positive to come from the results so far is that Labour will not need to rely on the Greens for support. Ardern for all her faults is conservative by nature and she has a handful of capable ministers, along with some muppets like Phil Twyford.

The Greens on the other hand are dangerous.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

its tourism sector is bleeding and economists predict a lasting recession after the harsh lockdowns.

If this election was a rear-view COVID referendum, then the next one will not likely look so pretty for Ardern’s party. A full political term of such ongoing economic suffering will lead to demands for other paths, I’d wager.

Debt is forecast to rise to 56% of gross domestic product from less than 20% before the pandemic.

Wow, well done to have been at 20%! More debt due to the pandemic is unavoidable. Still only a 6th if Japan’s horrific situation.

But now what? Is there something to be learned about where to go from here? Hike taxes on the entrapped rich people, and what else?

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Nice to see a normal person with a life outside of their job at the top. I for one think it's a healthy thing.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Who are these posters being so negative about Jacinda Ardern? Are any of them Kiwis? Because the Kiwis seem to have an entirely different opinion of PM Ardern

Really? According to the article 1 out of 3 votes were for someone else. Why would you be surprise that a third of the comments are negative? New Zealand is a small country, but not a monolith.

-23 ( +0 / -23 )

Good to see a healthy democracy functioning as it should. I can only say, getting rid of the Nats was a god send, a few more years of the Nats and Kiwis would be speaking Chinese and renting their good farming land from Chinese landlords.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Who are these posters being so negative about Jacinda Ardern?

She’s on the hymn sheet as the bad guy along with Trudeau and a few others.

They just recite it.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

This is what happens when the government is trusted to put people first, instead of stuffing their own pockets.

NZ eradicated the virus efficiently, now they don't even need to wear masks. Other countries should learn from this.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Who are these posters being so negative about Jacinda Ardern? Are any of them Kiwis? Because the Kiwis seem to have an entirely different opinion of PM Ardern, and are voting accordingly.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

Actually a bit pleasant to see an orderly and civilized one take place.

and where the popular vote winner will actually lead the country

16 ( +21 / -5 )

If New Zealand wants Arden, let them have her.

No idea on what her appeal is to the populace, but that’s what elections are supposed to be about.

Actually a bit pleasant to see an orderly and civilized one take place.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Yes to cannabis No to Dope, vote the dope ( adern ) out of govt !

If she does not get back in she will take up her post at the U.N. and go from screwing NZ to screwing everyone.

-23 ( +6 / -29 )

I think big "Crusher" has this, just my gut feeling.

you may want to check your gut as labour is polling over 20 points ahead. They will probably not even need a coalition partner.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I'm hearing the Greens and NZ First are polling very badly and may be wiped out completely from gov't, thus ending Labours chance of coalition. Ardern has made a promise to retire if she fails to be re-elected.

I think big "Crusher" has this, just my gut feeling.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

Sorry. Spell check messed up her name.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Arden will win. Cannabis will lose. Euthanasia will win.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

New Zealand doesn't need any more politically left policies. Let it flourish without constraints.

-20 ( +7 / -27 )

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