Jacinda Ardern secures landslide win

2020-10-17 at 15:45

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party won a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election today as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.

The mandate means Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades, and face the challenge of delivering on the progressive transformation she promised but failed to deliver in her first term, where Labour shared power with a nationalist party.

Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

If Labour wins more than half the seats, Ardern could form the first single-party government under the current system.

Ardern came out of her home in Auckland, waved and hugged gathered supporters.

Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said she had called the prime minister to congratulate her for an “outstanding result”.

Labour had 49.0% of the votes, far ahead of National at 27%, the Electoral Commission said, with 77% of ballots counted in an election that was largely a referendum on Ardern’s aggressive handling of COVID-19.