Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labor Party got a big victory in New Zealand’s general election on Saturday while voters praised her for a decisive response to COVID-19.
This mandate explains that Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades, and face the challenge of achieving on the progressive change that she promised however she is failed to achieve it in the first term, while Labor shared power with a nationalist party.
The political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington said that this is a historic shift, and he describes the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years.
Labor Party was near to got 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament, which is the highest by any party since New Zealand followed a proportional voting system in 1996. If Labor gets more than half the seats, Ardern could form the first single-party government under the current system.
Moreover, Opposition National Party leader, Judith Collins, declared that she had called the prime minister to congratulate her for an outstanding result.
The Electoral Commission reported that labor had 49.0 percent of the votes, far ahead of National at 27 percent, with 77 percent of votes calculated in an election that was largely a referendum on Ardern’s aggressive handling of COVID-19
Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, a top labor MP said that 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.
On his part, analyst at political website Democracy Project, Geoffrey Miller, reported that the victory was very much a personal triumph for Jacinda Ardern’s ‘superstar’ popularity and brand.
The nationalist New Zealand First Party got 2.6 percent and the Green Party 7.6 percent. If Ardern is unable to form a labor-only government, she is expected to continue to rely on the minor Greens while abandoning New Zealand First.
Furthermore, a labor-Green coalition would be the first fully left-leaning government since the 1970s, which is a scenario that National’s Collins alerted would mean more taxes and an environment hostile to business. Ardern has promised to increase taxes on top earners, while Collins promised short-term tax cuts, however they have shown few major differences on policy.