AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) – One day after winning a second term in a country victory, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that she saw the election result as confirmation of her government’s efforts to eradicate the coronavirus and restart the economy.
Speaking at a coffee shop near her home in Auckland, Ardern said she expected to form a new government within three weeks and prioritize work on the virus response.
“We’re working very quickly on the work we have to do as a new team,”
Their comments came when health officials reported a new case of community transmission after New Zealand had passed three weeks without reinfection. Officials said the man works in the ports on foreign ships and they believe they picked up his case early enough to contain the threat of further spread.
In the elections, the Liberal Labor Party von Ardern received 49% of the vote and crushed the Conservative National Party, which received 27%. Ardern said the profit margin exceeded their expectations.
The result will give Labor a clear majority in parliament, the first time a party has achieved this since New Zealand introduced a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Usually parties have forged alliances to rule, but this time Labor can do it on its own.
When asked what she would say to Americans who might be inspired by her pre-election victory, Ardern hoped people around the world could get past the partisan divisions that elections often stress.
“That can be detrimental to democracy no matter which side of the house you are on,” she said.
Ardern’s popularity soared earlier this year after successfully attempting to stop the virus from spreading by imposing a strict lockdown in late March. There have been fewer than 2,000 cases of the virus in New Zealand, including 25 deaths.
The 40-year-old Ardern won the top job in the 2017 elections. The following year she gave birth as the second world leader in office. In 2019, she was commended for her empathetic response to a massacre in two Christchurch mosques in which a rifleman killed 51 Muslim worshipers.
Arden said she had been congratulated on her victory by a number of world leaders, including the UK, Denmark, Canada and Spain. When asked if she wanted to run again in the next election, Ardern laughed.
“I just ran in 2020. I haven’t taken a weekend,” she said. “I’m enjoying this moment.”