Wellington: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election on Saturday, leveraging success in battling COVID-19 to gain an unprecedented outright majority and the chance to implement her reform agenda.
With most votes counted, Ardern’s liberal Labour Party was winning 49% of the vote compared to 27% for its main challenger, the conservative National Party.
Labour Party 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.
Ardern, 40, promised supporters she would build an economy that works for everyone, create jobs, train people, protect the environment and address climate challenges and social inequalities.
“New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years,” Ms Ardern told supporters after her landslide victory.
“We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander,” she said.
For the last three years, Ardern was in a coalition with the Green Party and the nationalist New Zealand First party. Although she no longer needs support, coalitions are the norm in New Zealand as parties look to build consensus.