People's leader Jacinda Ardern scores historic landslide victory in New Zealand elections

Sunday, 18 Oct, 2020

She said: "To Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who I have phoned, congratulations on your result".

The New Zealand Herald reports Ardern's center-left Labour Party surged to certain victory, winning 49.1% of the vote and crushing the center-right National Party in an "abolute drubbing". About 3.5 million people are registered to vote, with 1.9 million, or well over half, casting their ballots early - a much higher figure than previous elections.

Her conservative National Party was expected to take around 35 seats in what appears to be its worst result in almost 20 years.

The success helped Ardern win a poll she dubbed the "Covid election" and the 55 percent personal approval rating she recorded in opinion polls ahead of the vote demonstrates the bond she has forged with fellow Kiwis in tough times.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at a press conference to speak to the media about changing the 2020 general election date at the Parliament in Wellington on 17 August 2020.

'It is an outstanding result for the Labour Party, ' Ms Collins said.

No leader has achieved an outright majority since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, leading to a succession of multi-party governments.

With both major party leaders supporting a switch to a four-year term during this campaign, the need for constitutional reform to hinder a return to unbridled power is once again on our political agenda.

New Zealand's opposition leader Judith Collins has vowed to stay on as leader regardless of the result
New Zealand's opposition leader Judith Collins has vowed to stay on as leader regardless of the result

New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, now has no community cases of COVID-19 and has been among only a few nations where people are not required to wear masks or follow social distancing.

But as Ardern sweeps to a landslide victory, Peters has seen his party lose all of its seats, and his career effectively ended.

New Zealand has reported fewer than 2,000 total cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic began.

The win is also the reward for Ardern's leadership through a series of extraordinary events that shaped her first three-year term: the gunman's massacre of 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques and the eruption of the White Island volcano, which killed 21. Swarbrick will become just the second Green MP to win an electorate seat in the party's 30-year history.

She became a role model for working mothers around the world, many of whom saw her as a counterpoint to President Donald Trump. These include the Christchurch mosques shootings in March a year ago, when a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers, and a volcanic eruption that claimed 21 lives last December on White Island, also known as Whakaari.

Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away. After more than 100 days without community transmission, an outbreak flared in largest city Auckland, but that was also quickly stamped out.

Ardern's left-leaning government will face a looming economic hangover from COVID-19, a deep plunge in output and surge in debt after her strict lockdowns, a worsening housing crisis and a growing divide between rich and poor. Two referendums were also held alongside the election on whether cannabis and euthanasia should be legalized.

Final results will be released in three weeks once special votes - including those cast by New Zealanders living overseas - are counted.