Jacinda Ardern will serve a second term as New Zealand prime minister following Labour’s landslide victory in an election on Saturday, which delivered a major shift towards progressive parties.
With most of the votes counted, Labour has won almost 50 per cent of the vote compared to 27 per cent for the opposition National party — a result that could allow the party to form the first majority government in the Pacific nation since 1996.
The resounding victory follows a Labour campaign that focused on Ms Ardern’s strong and empathetic leadership during a series of crises, including Covid-19 and the murder of 51 Muslims in Christchurch by a far-right extremist in 2019.
“Tonight New Zealand has shown the Labour party its biggest support in 50 years . . .
“It is clear that Labour will lead the government for the next three years,” Ms Ardern told cheering supporters in Auckland.
She said Labour would govern on behalf all New Zealanders and had not ruled out entering a coalition with the Green party, despite winning enough seats to govern alone.
New Zealand First, a nationalist party currently in coalition with Labour, is unlikely to win any seats, preliminary results show.
Judith Collins, leader of the centre right National party, congratulated Ms Ardern on a “great result” for Labour and said the party would be back in three years’ time.
The result delivers a strong domestic mandate to Ms Ardern, whose Labour party were outpolled in the 2017 election by the National party but managed to cobble together a ruling coalition to form government.
During the campaign Labour pledged to tackle inequality but put forward few concrete policy proposals, apart from raising taxes for people earning more than NZ$180,000 ($119,000).