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New Zealanders go to the polls as Jacinda Ardern seeks second term

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Opinion polls point out Ms. Ardern is poised to win, along with her liberal Labour Party polling far forward of the conservative National Party.

Polling locations opened on election day in New Zealand on Saturday as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seeks a second term.

Ms. Ardern introduced home made cheese scones to marketing campaign volunteers in Auckland and appeared relaxed as she awaited outcomes, which will likely be introduced later in the night.

Opinion polls point out Ms. Ardern is poised to win, along with her liberal Labour Party polling far forward of the conservative National Party, led by Judith Collins. A report variety of voters forged early ballots in the two weeks main up to the election.

On the marketing campaign path, Ms. Ardern has been greeted like a rock star by individuals who have crammed into malls and spilled onto streets to cheer her on and get selfies along with her.

One query will likely be whether or not Labour can win an outright majority in Parliament, one thing that hasn’t occurred since New Zealand applied a proportional voting system 24 years in the past. Typically, events should kind alliances to govern, however this time there’s an opportunity Ms. Ardern and Labour will likely be ready to go it alone.

Ms. Ardern’s rival Ms. Collins says she nonetheless believes she will be able to win and that polls have been incorrect earlier than, notably about Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Track report

Ms. Ardern, 40, gained the high job after the 2017 election when Labour fashioned an alliance with two different events. The following yr, she turned solely the second world chief to give start whereas in workplace.

She turned a task mannequin for working moms round the world, lots of whom noticed her as a counterpoint to President Donald Trump. And she was praised for her dealing with of final yr’s assault on two Christchurch mosques, when a white supremacist gunned down 51 Muslim worshippers.

She moved rapidly to move new legal guidelines banning the deadliest forms of semi-automatic weapons.

In late March this yr, when solely about 100 folks had examined constructive for COVID-19, Ms. Ardern and her well being officers put New Zealand right into a strict lockdown with a motto of “Go hard and go early.” She shut the borders and outlined an formidable purpose of eliminating the virus totally somewhat than simply making an attempt to management its unfold.

With New Zealand having the benefit of being an remoted island nation, the technique labored. New Zealand eradicated group transmission for 102 days earlier than a brand new cluster was found in August in Auckland. Ms. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak light away. The solely new circumstances discovered lately have been amongst returning travellers, who’re in quarantine.

The Auckland outbreak additionally prompted Ms. Ardern to postpone the election by a month and helped enhance the early voter turnout.

Ms. Collins, 61, is a former lawyer. She served as a minister when National was in energy and prides herself on a blunt, no-nonsense method, a distinction to Ms. Ardern’s empathetic type. Ms. Collins is promising sweeping tax cuts in response to the financial downturn attributable to the virus.

In the election, voters even have a say on two contentious social points — whether or not to legalise marijuana and euthanasia. Polls point out the euthanasia referendum is probably going to move whereas the marijuana vote stays shut.

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