When Jacinda Ardern was elected Prime Minister of New ZealandIn October 2017, she became the youngest woman in the world to lead a government. He was 37 years old. Today, three intense years later, in which she has been a mother and has had to deal with crises such as the supremacist attack in Christchurch or the coronavirus pandemic, she has been re-elected with a comfortable victory in the general elections held this Saturday.
In 2017 (in New Zealand, the elections are every three years), the Labor leader, at that time practically unknown, came in second place in the elections behind the conservative Bill English, who had been in government for almost a decade. However, a pact with the nationalists of New Zealand First and the Green Party catapulted her to the Executive of this oceanic country of five million inhabitants. On this occasion he will not need to negotiate with any force since, with 90% of the votes counted, he has obtained 49% of the votes, which would give him 64 seats out of the 120 that the New Zealand Parliament has.
The main opposing force, the conservative National Party of Judith Collins, it has obtained 35 deputies (27% of the votes); while the Verdes, who have governed in coalition with Labor in the last legislature, have obtained 10 seats (7.5% of the votes), the same as the liberal ATC (8%), and the Maori Party, one seat (1% of the votes). The populists of New Zealand First, also members of the governing coalition, have been left without representation.
“In the next three years – New Zealand has elections every three years – there is a lot to do. We will rebuild from the covid crisis better and stronger“The winner declared to her euphoric followers in Auckland city, in a speech that began in the Maori language.
His empathetic character and good management of the health crisis have contributed to the electoral victory of Ardern, who during his youth worked in a popular kitchen in New York and in a team of consultants for the then British Prime Minister. Tony Blair. Has a good handling of social networks, to the point that they call her “the prime minister of Facebook.” In Instagram usually hangs household photos with your partner, the radio and television presenter Clarke Gayford, but never from his daughter, Neve, who turned two in June. And after decreeing the closure of the country on March 25, when there were only six cases and no deaths, Ardern addressed the nation through a Facebook direct after putting his little girl to bed to convey her understanding with the anxiety that they could feel the citizens and apologized for such a drastic measure.
20% salary reduction
The consequence of confining the country in a very embryonic stage of the epidemic – with total closure of borders and strict containment measures – has been a very limited impact of the coronavirus, with 1,872 cases and only 25 deaths. In addition, in solidarity with the workers affected by the consequences of the health crisis, Labor politics announced in April that both it and the rest of the Cabinet they would lower their salary by 20% for six months.
After declaring the country “covid-free” and returning to normal practice on June 9, the prime minister once again confined the city of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city in early August for an outbreak in four members of the same family and he delayed the elections, originally scheduled for September 17, by a month.
But good management of the pandemic has not been its only success. The tact with which he faced the massacre in two mosques in the city of Christchurch in March 2019, in which the white supremacist Brenton Tarrant he killed 51 people and wounded dozens more, and has also earned him numerous accolades. In addition to transmitting a message of unity and respect towards the Muslim community (he put a ‘hiyab‘during his visit to the survivors and the families of the victims of the attack), he managed in record time to carry out a bill to prohibit the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons such as those used by the terrorist, who refuses to pronounce your name. “Many of those who have been directly affected by this shooting this morning may be immigrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees who have chosen New Zealand as their home. Because this is their home. They are us“Ardern said in an emotional message after the attacks.
The leader defines herself as a feminist, social democrat, progressive and republican, in a territory whose head of state is the Queen of England. In addition, it defends the right to abortion, the defense of same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana and advocating for free college for all New Zealanders.
Housing crisis and child poverty
The negative balance weighs the failure to fulfill some of its electoral promises, such as solving the difficult access to housing or pockets of poverty. He is also blamed for not having done enough to tackle child poverty. The Executive Director of Unicef in New Zealand, Vivien maidaborn, argues that “white New Zealanders have a very different life experience than Maori or Pacific peoples.” An experience that has been magnified with the pandemic.
In this new legislature, Ardern will have to face the worst economic recession in decades of the country derived from the health crisis, which has caused a huge loss of income from the tourism. Between April and June, GDP contracted by 12.2%, after 11 years of economic growth.