The people of New Zealand have re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party for a second term.
Labour won 49.1% of the more than 2.6 million votes cast on October 17, giving them a majority. It was the Labour Party’s biggest victory in 50 years.
For an explainer about why having a majority government is significant, see this TKN article, “Canadians Elect Liberal Majority.”
Many people say that Jacinda Ardern’s leadership is one of the main reasons for the landslide victory. People have been impressed with the way she kept COVID-19 under control in the country by introducing strict guidelines at the very beginning of the crisis.
Compassionate leadership style
BBC News says she is “known for her compassionate leadership style” and calls her “hugely popular.”
In 2018, Ardern became only the second world leader to have a baby while holding office.
There are 120 seats in New Zealand’s assembly. The centre-left Labour Party won 64 of them and the centre-right National Party won 35 seats.
For an explainer about “left, right and centre” political parties, see this TKN article, “French Elect Emmanuel Macron as President.”
Percentage of the Vote
- Labour: 49.1% of the popular vote
- National Party: 26.8%
- ACT New Zealand: 8%
- Green: 7.6%
- Māori Party: 1%
- Other: 7.7%
It is the first time any party in New Zealand has won a majority since it began using a voting system known as Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP), in 1996.
THINK AND DISCUSS
- Find New Zealand on a map. What countries (or continents) and bodies of water are nearest to it? Write down some other facts about its geography.
2. What do you know about New Zealand? Make a list of things you know about it. Find out some additional facts about it, like: what its three official languages are, some of its landmarks and what The Lord of the Rings movies have to do with New Zealand.
You can find some unusual facts about NZ on GloboTreks: https://www.globotreks.com/destinations/new-zealand/33-quirky-facts-new-zealand/
3. There are 120 seats in the New Zealand assembly. How many were needed for a majority?
4. Using the chart in this article, create a bar graph of the percentage of votes each party won.
5. About 3.5 million people are eligible to vote in New Zealand. In this election, about 2.63 million (nearly 80%) voted. Does 80% sound high, low or average to you (and why do you think that)? Do some research to find out how many people vote in a typical federal (national) election in your own country, and compare them to three other countries’ voting percentages.
6. New Zealand’s Māori Party was formed after the country’s Indigenous people were denied ownership of its foreshore and seabed. Do some research to find out more about the Māori people and the Māori Party.
7. The article says that Ardern was the second world leader to have a baby while holding office. Who was the first?
ABC (Australian Broadcast Company): https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-17/jacinda-ardern-wins-second-term-as-new-zealand-pm/12771532
CBC News (Canada): https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/newzealand-election-1.5766580