New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, left, talks with colleagues at a cafe in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday. Photo: AP/Mark Baker
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New Zealand's Ardern credits virus response for election win

23 Comments
By NICK PERRY

A day after winning a second term in a landside victory, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday she sees the election result as an endorsement of her government’s efforts to stamp out the coronavirus and reboot the economy.

Speaking at a cafe near her Auckland home, Ardern said she expects to form a new government within three weeks and to prioritize work on the virus response.

“We're cracking on very quickly with the work we need to do as a new team,” Ardern said.

Her comments came as health officials reported one new case of community transmission after New Zealand went three weeks without any new infection. Officials said the man works on foreign ships at the ports, and they believe they caught his case early enough to contain the threat of further spread.

In the election, Ardern's liberal Labour Party got 49% of the vote, crushing the conservative National Party, which got 27%. Ardern said the margin of the victory exceeded their expectations.

The result will give Labour an outright majority in Parliament, the first time any party has achieved that since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically parties have formed alliances to govern but this time Labour can go it alone.

Asked what she would say to those Americans who may draw inspiration from her win ahead of the U.S. elections, Ardern said she hoped people globally could move past the partisan divisions that elections often accentuate.

“That can be damaging for democracy, regardless of the side of the House that you sit on,” she said.

Ardern's popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to halt the spread of the virus by implementing a strict lockdown in late March. New Zealand has had fewer than 2,000 cases of the virus including 25 deaths.

Ardern, 40, won the top job at the 2017 election. The following year, she became only the second world leader to give birth while in office. In 2019, she was praised for her empathetic response to a massacre at two Christchurch mosques in which a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

Arden said she'd been congratulated on her win by a number of world leaders, including those from Britain, Denmark, Canada and Spain. Asked if she planned to run again at the next election, Ardern laughed.

“I've just run in 2020. I haven't yet taken a weekend,” she said. “I'm enjoying this moment.”

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23 Comments
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"Is it even logical to suggest the population size has anything to do with the spread of a virus."

A smaller population makes it easier to track, test and isolate. It is easier to quarantine suspected cases. It is easier to enforce lockdowns. It is easier to prosecute people who fail to adhere to lockdown guidelines. So yeah, its quite logical to suggest that she would not have been able to manage a bigger country with the same efficiency that she has shown in NZ.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A smaller population makes it easier.

But the most important thing is competent leadership, and reasonable citizens. If either of those two are absent, the covid response is pathetic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

yoshisan88Oct. 18  05:47 pm JST

In my culture, there is a saying "circumstance makes one to become a hero". Covid-19 had given J.A. the prefect opportunity to boost her popularity.

Not to take away anything from her victory, but it is far easier to control the virus in a country with less than 5 million people.

I cannot agree more. I have been saying this for many months that J.A. has done the right things to contain the virus but she has some winning factors like 5 million population in a country the size of Japan, relatively low population density in cities etc to help her. Therefore it is not fair to compare NZ to other countries like Japan, UK etc.

Is it even logical to suggest the population size has anything to do with the spread of a virus. It's not like NZer's are far apart from each other at all times. They take public transport, go shopping and go to school and work just like a country with a large population. If the population is such a factor why do countries with similar numbers have far higher infection and deaths rates?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Whoops, another one. Who’d have thunk it

There have been more cases of Covid in the White House alone in the last month than in the whole of New Zealand. If one case is a ‘whoopsie’ then I think we can agree 35 is an earth-shattering disaster, yes?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

This is article seems pretty well grounded, away from the basking in an election victory:

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN27309O?il=0

My suspicion is, Ardern will be resigning as PM during the next term as the going keeps being tough, and she might have another baby she’ll prefer to spend more time with.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Didn’t say it was a disaster.

They keep claiming they’ve eliminated the virus, at the cost of keeping tourists locked out, etc. but it keeps popping up.

Not sure what we are supposed to learn from this example.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Whoops, another one. Who’d have thunk it.

One whole case in the entire country in three weeks! Oh no, they’re all doomed! Cancel the election!

Get a grip.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

New Zealand’s Prime Minister addressed the nation after her Labour Party secured a landslide victory in the 2019 election. The Labour Party won the election, which was originally set for September but was delayed by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority of 49 percent.

I think I slept through that one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

New Zealand’s Prime Minister addressed the nation after her Labour Party secured a landslide victory in the 2019 election. The Labour Party won the election, which was originally set for September but was delayed by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority of 49 percent.

https://worldabcnews.com/jacinda-ardern-calls-for-unity-after-winning-second-term-as-new-zealand-prime-minister-world-news/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Congratulation to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Going to need something akin to a five loafs and two fish's approach to the economy.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

one new case of community transmission after New Zealand went three weeks without any new infection. 

Whoops, another one. Who’d have thunk it.

At least their election campaign was successful :)

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

In my culture, there is a saying "circumstance makes one to become a hero". Covid-19 had given J.A. the prefect opportunity to boost her popularity.

Not to take away anything from her victory, but it is far easier to control the virus in a country with less than 5 million people.

I cannot agree more. I have been saying this for many months that J.A. has done the right things to contain the virus but she has some winning factors like 5 million population in a country the size of Japan, relatively low population density in cities etc to help her. Therefore it is not fair to compare NZ to other countries like Japan, UK etc.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Awesome Ardern! Nothing to do with her gender in particular but she addressed the pandemic taking into account the welfare of the people she lead, listening to the advice of the those best equipped to address the pandemic crisis and correctly attending to the economic externalities . A model for future generations unlike the posturing buffoons at the head of so many governments.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I imagine that terrifies the powerful males, especially those who believe they are entitled to rule over nations.

I've worked with people like Jacinda Ardern. I've had friends like Jacinda Ardern. She is young, intelligent, open, honest, refreshing and competent - a real contrast to so many world leaders today. I think that's why she excites so many negative reactions from the Right - they're terrified of her, and they hate her for it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Not elitest can mix with the population because she is the population. It's refreshing.

I imagine that terrifies the powerful males, especially those who believe they are entitled to rule over nations. Look at the vitriol and scorn to "left leaning" politicians like AOC in the US, or any vaguely liberal female politician in any country.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Back on topic please.

@Cricky--good point about her being non elitist. In contrast, America's DonT never goes out to restaurants in DC where he supposedly lives and works. He has to fly back to NYC, Bedminster or Mar A Lago just to have a meal around the public, who even then are private club members. Amazing all the travel $750 in taxes got converted into.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Her government's largely successful response to COVID-19 is what won them the election.

That is the crux of the matter ... in the last opinion poll before Covid hit her party was trailing 46% to 41% ... and she was looking at getting voted out of office ... after Covid it all changed and Labour went up to 60% and settled at the election with 49% ... meanwhile the opposition National party imploded with 3 leaders in the space of 3 months and went from 46% to just 27% at the election

Domestically her government has been a shambolic failure with a litany of broken/fulfilled promises and scandals galore yet due to Covid gets rewarded with majority government now

Ironically after 3 weeks of no local Covid cases, a day after the election it is announced a new Covid case reported in the community

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

I'm happy for her 3 more years, good or bad it's 3 more years. Landslide so she has done something right. Act on the promised change from last time, she can do it. I believe she is genuine in her intentions. Can't wait for the referendum results.

Not elitest can mix with the population because she is the population. It's refreshing.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Actually Trump might like a few appreciative words over this. If not for his scathing review of how it was being handled in NZ, people might not have stood up and said “screw you, we’re voting her in again”

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Not to take away anything from her victory, but it is far easier to control the virus in a country with less than 5 million people. The idiot running my country has botched up the virus response but he will probably still win the election if it were to be held today.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'd like to be able to be in a cafe with so many people sitting so close, and no masks and no plastic sheets or plexiglass anywhere in the picture. The Kiwis gave her a renewed mandate because they understand how good they have it, compared to the rest of the world.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

One of the few times where Ardern is telling the truth. Her government's largely successful response to COVID-19 is what won them the election.

Last year she was resoundingly booed at Eden Park at an All Blacks game. That would not have happened had she attended today's game.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

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