Jacinda Ardern Wins Second Term As New Zealand's Labour Party Takes Control

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declares victory for the Labour Party in the 2020 general election at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland New Zealand

But Collins, 61, argued that she was best placed to steer New Zealand through a pandemic-induced recession. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away.

"Tonight New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years", she continued. The Māori Party is expected to win one of seven Māori electorate seats and return to parliament even though it only achieved 1% of the party vote.

In contrast to today's "polarizing world", Ardern pledged to "govern as we campaigned: positively, with an optimism about our future". But the main unknown was by how much. The opposition conservative National Party scored 27 percent of votes and is down to 35 seats from the 54 it secured in the previous general election.

At the start of the year, before the pandemic, polls showed the Labor and National parties in a tight race. She displayed both empathy and decisive action on gun control after a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosques attack previous year.

In his felicitation message, PM Imran said Jacinda Ardern's compassionate style of leadership has won hearts not just in New Zealand but in Pakistan too.

In the UK, Labour MP Lisa Nandy said that Ardern's victory was "an inspiration around the world".

Preliminary results won't be released until the end of the month, but if the measure passes, then New Zealand would join Canada, Georgia, South Africa and Uruguay on the list of countries to have legalized consumption of pot on the national level. The shutdowns, mixed with preexisting immigration policies, have also left migrant workers stranded outside the country and divided mixed-national families, although repatriation arrangements have been prepared by authorities.

Ardern also faces a second term in which rising tensions with China loom large, including Ardern's claims of Beijing interference in New Zealand's affairs.

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.

The numbers are a reversal of the 2017 results, when Labour polled 36.9%, National had 44.4% of the vote and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters became the kingmaker. She has since been celebrated as a role model for working mothers.

She has also been a strong advocate for global cooperation around issues like climate change, with supporters dubbing her "the anti-Trump" as a result.

With New Zealand having the advantage of being an isolated island nation, the strategy worked.

New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalise euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on October 30.

The Electoral Commission said nearly 2 million ballots had already been cast as of Friday, accounting for more than half of the roughly 3.5 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.

That, and the near-revolution of Rogernomics that transformed the New Zealand economy in the 1980s, brought about a parallel near-revolution in our politics, with the switch to MMP in 1996. The libertarian ACT Party increased its support to 8% and the Green Party won 7.5% of the votes.

Berger reported from Washington.



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