CLAND, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Sunday she saw the election result as support for the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus and restart the economy.
Speaking at a cafe near his Uck Cland home, Ardern said he expects to form a new government in three weeks and prioritize work on the virus response.
“We’re cracking very fast with the work we need to do as a new team,” Arden said.
His comments came after health officials filed a new case of community transmission after three weeks in New Zealand without a new infection. Officials said the man works on foreign ships at ports, and they believe they caught his case as early as possible to prevent further spread.
In the election, Arden’s Liberal Labor Party received 49% of the vote, crushing the Nationalist Conservative Party, which received 27%. Ardern said the victory margin exceeded his expectations.
The result will give Labor an absolute majority in parliament, the first time either party has achieved what New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Normally the parties have formed an alliance for the regime but this time Labor can go it alone.
Asked what she would say to Americans who may be inspired by her victory ahead of the U.S. election, Ardern said she hopes people globally can move into ethnic divisions that repeat elections.
“It can be detrimental to democracy, regardless of the side of the House you sit on,” he said.
Arden’s popularity soared earlier this year after successful efforts to stem the spread of the virus by enforcing a strict lockdown in late March. Fewer than 2,000 cases of the virus have been reported in New Zealand, with 25 deaths.
Order, 40, got the top job in the 2017 election. The following year, he became the second world leader to be born in that position. In 2019, she was praised for her sympathetic response to the massacre at two Christchurch mosques, in which a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshipers.
Arden said his victory would be congratulated by many world leaders, including Britain, Denmark, Canada and Spain. Asked if she plans to run again in the next election, Arden laughed.
“I just took part in 2020. I haven’t taken a weekend yet,” he said. “I’m enjoying this moment.”