Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern thanked New Zealanders Saturday for delivering her party a landslide general election victory on the back of her government’s success fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
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”.
Of Ardern’s current coalition partners, the nationalist New Zealand First Party had 2.6 per cent and the Green Party 7.6 per cent. If she is unable to form a Labour-only government, she is expected to continue to rely on the minor Greens while jettisoning New Zealand First.
The prime minister won global acclaim for her handling of a mass shooting last year by a white supremacist in Christchurch, with her inclusive “be strong, be kind” mantra and swift action to ban guns.