New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed Oct. 18 to “crack on” with delivering her vision following a landslide election victory, after a string of disasters frustrated reform in her first term.
Ardern’s center-left Labour Party won a historic outright majority in the Oct. 17 poll — the first since the country adopted proportional voting in 1996 — allowing her to implement policies without support from minor parties.
After facing criticism since winning office in 2017 for not delivering on key promises such as protecting the environment and reducing child poverty, Ardern said she now had a mandate for change.
The charismatic leader said the size of the victory, Labour’s biggest since 1946, meant more voters backed the party’s reformist agenda.
“I think they were endorsing the work we’ve done and the plan we have to go forward, and there are some areas we do want to crack on with,” Ardern said.
Though hailed internationally as a standard-bearer for progressive politics, Ardern admitted that the need to placate minor-party coalition partners had “slowed down” reform in her first term.
The 40-year-old also dealt with New Zealand’s worst terrorist attack, a deadly volcanic eruption and the country’s deepest recession in 30 years. (AFP-Jiji)