Jacinda Ardern Wins Second Term As New Zealand's Labour Party Takes Control

Jacinda Ardern smiles as she looks ahead of herself wearing a tan coat red top and gold earrings. People are behind her

The Labour Party's big win is still sinking in for Jacinda Ardern as the party faithful celebrate in Auckland this evening.

But she signalled that she meant to adopt a centrist agenda, even though her centre-left party will now be able to pass legislation unimpeded.

New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, now has no community cases of COVID-19 and has been among only a few nations where people are not required to wear masks or follow social distancing.

"I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander".

And that National victory was against the background of the massive industrial disruption of the waterfront dispute, and at a time when Labour and National routinely got 99 per cent of the vote between them, with minor parties virtually non-existent.

According to the latest vote count, Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country's unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996. A number of seats are reserved for Maori candidates.

With most of the votes counted, Ardern's liberal Labour Party has won 49%.

When a voter votes for a candidate, that helps to choose who represents the electorate the voter lives in.

The candidate with the most votes wins, and becomes an MP. "[They've] just been so great from Jacinda down, the whole mechanics of the Labor party just really going for it these last few weeks - and now to get a result like that is great".

Parties often need to come to an agreement with other parties to form a coalition government.

Earlier this year, Ms Ardern moved swiftly to quell the outbreak by imposing one of the world's most stringent lockdowns. As at yesterday, the country of about five million residents recorded 1,883 cases and just 25 deaths.

Wall Street falls on dimmed stimulus hopes
On the other hand, Bank of America Corp slipped 2.3% and Wells Fargo & Co shed 1.6% after the lenders reported a slump in profit. Walgreens stock shot up 4.8% as the company exceeded its expected fourth-quarter profit due to increased sales at US pharmacies.

Aside from curbs on global travellers, life has returned to normal and restrictions have largely been removed.

Aspects of MMP are still healthy - the strong showing by both the Greens and ACT show that we're not heading back to the two-party dominance of the first past the post days, which seemed where we might have been heading after the 2017 election.

She said the world was increasingly polarised but New Zealand's polls had shown that disagreements could be settled civilly, without exacerbating divisions.

The leader of the National Party, Judith Collins, congratulated Jacinda but promised her party would "provide robust opposition".Ms Adern has pledged to make more climate-friendly policies and put more money into schools.

"National Party leader Judith Collins, who became the third person to lead the party this year as its poll ratings fell, said in her concession speech that New Zealand was in for a 'tough economic ride".

Ardern arrived at Auckland Town Hall on Friday night to a jubilant reception as she took the stage with Labour MPs and her partner, radio and television presenter Clarke Gayford.

"We will take time to reflect and we will review and we will change", she said, adding the National Party will "reemerge from this loss a stronger, disciplined and more connected party".

Collins promised that the party would be back to fight another day.

The center-right National Party, which governed from 2008 to 2017, trailed with 35 seats, and the Greens had 10 - the same number as the right-wing ACT Party.

She thanked her party's staff and volunteers for all their hard work.

She gave birth a year later, becoming only the second world leader to do so while in office.

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