- I have only two words: Thank you.”
- “People were very grateful and very happy with how we’ve handled COVID
- “This is not an ordinary election and this has not been an ordinary time.
New Zealand incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labor Party on Saturday won with a landslide in the country’s general election in what appears to be the NewZealander’s award to their leader thanks to her Government’s superb response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has since earned her fame and admiration worldwide.
“Tonight New Zealand has shown the Labour party its biggest support in 50 years,” Ms Adern said. “We have seen that support in urban seats and rural seats and seats we may not have expected. And to that I have only two words: Thank you.” She went on “This is not an ordinary election and this has not been an ordinary time.
“Tonight’s result is strong. It is clear that Labour will lead the government for the next three years.”
“This is a historic shift,” said political analyst Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington. He described the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years. “This is new ground,” he said.
With 77% of the votes counted, The Labor Party had 49.0% of the vote, far ahead of the National with 27%, in an election that was largely regarded as a referendum on Ardern’s aggressive handling of the covid- 19 pandemics. The country’s opposition leader Judith Collins already conceded defeat and called the prime minister to congratulate her on what she described as a “remarkable result”.
“People were very grateful and very happy with how we’ve handled COVID, they like the shape of the plan that we’ve got going forward from here for the economy,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson, a leading Labor MP.
During the campaigns, Ardern pledged to raise taxes on those who earn big salaries while the opposition’s Collins promised short-term tax cuts, but they showed little major policy differences.
The prime minister won global acclaim for handling a mass shooting last year by a white supremacist in Christchurch, with her inclusive mantra “be strong, be kind” and quick action to ban weapons.
She also earned herself global admiration owing to her approach to halting the spread of the new coronavirus which resulted in the total elimination of covid-19 spread in NewZealand.
Life has returned to normal in New Zealand, but its borders are still closed, the tourism industry is on it’s death bed literally and economists are predicting a lasting recession after the severe blockades.
The economy shrank at an annual rate of 12.2% in the second quarter, its sharpest drop since the Great Depression. The debt is expected to increase to 56% of gross domestic product, from less than 20% before the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalize euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on October 30. The latest vote could make New Zealand just the third country in the world to allow euthanasia and sale of cannabis across the country, after Uruguay and Canada.