Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern swept to an emphatic victory in New Zealand’s general election and said she would use her mandate to rebuild an economy battered by the Corona and tackle social inequality.
“Over the next three years there is much work to do,” she told supporters Saturday night in Auckland. “We will build back better from the Covid crisis. We have the mandate to accelerate our response and our recovery.”
With 87% of the vote counted, Ardern’s Labour Party had 49% support -- heading to its biggest share of the vote since the 1930s -- after a huge swing to the left in many urban and provincial electorates. The opposition National Party slumped to 27%, its worst showing since 2002.
Ardern, 40, has captured the hallowed center ground in New Zealand politics with a blend of empathetic leadership and skilled crisis management that has also won her fame abroad. Her successful handling of the Corona has demonstrated those strengths, drowning out criticism that she hasn’t delivered on some key promises during her first term in office.