Ardern secures second term with landslide win in New Zealand election

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has claimed victory in the country's general election, with the promise she will tackle social inequality in her second term.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has claimed victory in the country's general election, with the promise she will tackle social inequality in her second term.

AUCKLAND — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has claimed victory in the country's general election, with the promise she will tackle social inequality in her second term.

Opposition leader Judith Collins officially acknowledged Ardern's victory in a speech on Saturday night, congratulating her on an “outstanding result”.

With more than 80% of the vote counted, the prime minister's liberal Labour Party had nearly double the support of its main challenger, the conservative National Party.

The election was widely seen as a referendum on Ardern’s leadership since she took office three years ago. The leader's commanding victory comes after she was praised for her successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her victory speech, Ardern said: “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."

Labour was on the cusp of winning an outright majority in Parliament, something that has not happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically, parties must form alliances to govern, but this time Ardern and Labour may be able to go it alone.

It is a landslide that looks like our vote is the best it has been since the 1940s, said Labour Minister David Parker. It is a tremendous accolade first and foremost to the prime minister, but also to the wider Labour team and the Labour movement. A record number of voters cast early ballots in the two weeks leading up to the election.

On the campaign trail, Ardern was greeted like a rock star by people who crammed into malls and spilled onto streets to cheer her on and get selfies with her.

Ardern, 40, won the top job after the 2017 election when Labour formed an alliance with two other parties. The following year, she became only the second world leader to give birth while in office.

She became a role model for working mothers around the world, many of whom saw her as a counterpoint to President Donald Trump.

She was praised for her handling of last years attack on two Christchurch mosques, when a white supremacist gunned down 51 Muslim worshippers.

She moved quickly to pass new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons.

Speaking to the press, Arden added that she was "very pleased with the results tonight", adding: "I imagine I’ll take a little moment later this evening and then first thing tomorrow we crack on with work." — Agencies


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