New Zealand’s Ardern launches election campaign with promises of jobs and financing

(Reuters) – With promises of additional financing for small businesses and more jobs as a severe economic recession looms, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launched her party’s campaign on Sunday ahead of the September general election. .

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, on February 28, 2020. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

Ardern’s rise to become New Zealand’s most popular prime minister in a century, fueled by his response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left the country largely untouched, has increased his prospects in the 19/19 elections. September.

Ardern’s Labor Party, which rules in coalition with the Greens and New Zealand’s first nationalist party, will face off against the National Party in what is expected to be a campaign dominated by a pandemic.

If the prime minister’s high marks are reflected in the election results, Labor would govern for themselves, without the need for a coalition.

The government’s early and harsh coronavirus brakes that paralyzed economic activity have put the country into a technical recession for the first time in a decade.

“There was no playbook for COVID,” Ardern said at the Labor Party congress. “There was no playbook for recovery.”

She said a small business loan plan, which does not allow interest-free loans if repaid within a year and would end this month, will run until the end of the year, and more environmental and infrastructure jobs will be created under an agreement. prior announced Plan.

Small and medium-sized companies generate approximately one third of New Zealand’s gross domestic product.

“I cannot think of a time in our recent history when we were collectively challenged by such a cruel combination of events: a terrorist attack, a volcanic eruption, a global pandemic and now its consequent financial crisis,” said Ardern.

His leadership, widely seen as compassionate and steely, after last year’s murder of 51 Muslim worshipers in the country’s worst mass shooting, and after the December eruption of a volcano that killed 21, has drawn Ardern’s admiration in all the world.

Reports by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Praveen Menon in Wellington; Editing by William Mallard

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