Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is likely to win for the second term in elections that will be held on Saturday.
She is likely to have an edge over her rivals because of her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which helped to create an image as an effective leader.
According to the international news agency, recent opinion polls show it is still polling at 46 percent compared with the National Party’s 31 percent ahead of the election.
Political scientist and gardening enthusiast Georgina Murray cast one of her two votes to the Green Party in a bid “to keep the Labour Party honest”. People get to express their preference for both, a candidate and a party.
She said, “I normally vote for Labour but I’m voting tactically this year,” “I think Jacinda Ardern is fabulous because she has championed women’s rights, she’s publicly condemned racism, she’s warm, and she has re-envisioned what leadership can look like.”
Political commentator Ben Thomas said, “She made utopian promises, to ‘lift countless children out of poverty’ and to build 100,000 homes in 10 years. By that calculation, 10,000 should have been built by now and we’ve seen less than a few hundred. There were numerous pledges to invest in transport and infrastructure but despite the many press releases I’ve seen no shovel hit the ground.”
However, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the equation. “Coronavirus gave Ardern a clean slate,” Thomas said. “She could reset the agenda. You could see it as either the PM has benefitted from crises, or New Zealand has benefitted from the PM.”
Ardern is widely viewed as the antithesis of Donald Trump, and has even become a source of pride for Kiwis, Thomas says.