New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern credits coronavirus response for election win

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures as she gives her victory speech to Labour Party members at an event in Auckland New Zealand Saturday Oct. 17 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's centre-left Labour Party won a landslide victory in New Zealand's general election on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali said the win is a great victory for Ms Arden, for New Zealand, for women and for humanity. "This has not been an ordinary election and this has not been an ordinary time". 'It's been full of uncertainty and anxiety, and we set out to be an antidote to that'.

"Over the next three years there is a lot to do". Many stumbled (including us), while others immediately leapt into action and crushed COVID-19 in seemingly record time.

According to the incomplete results late on Saturday, local time, Labour was poised to increase its number of seats in the 120-seat parliament to 64.

Ardern said Labour was committed to building critical infrastructure, transitioning to 100% renewal electricity, the environment, and supporting the nation's most vulnerable people.

Collins said she would remain as National leader but commission an independent review into how the party's vote slumped nearly 18 points from the last election in 2017. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away. The party pledged to introduce a mandate for all new public bus purchases to be all-electric by 2025, to phase out the use of fossil fuels in process heat and will undertake further work to ensure a just transition is provided to communities impacted by the phase out of fossil fuel use.

She congratulated the people of New Zealand for letting good sense prevail and for voting with their heart and mind. It's also the highest result for any party since the country switched to a proportional representation system in 1996.

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The review of the party's performance could extend back to consider whether it had become too complacent after securing the largest vote share of any party in 2017 but failing to form government.

© Provided by Associated Press New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, left, and Megan Woods talk with colleagues at a cafe in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

"There's no doubt the strong, great leadership we've had from Jacinda Ardern has been a massive factor in all this", Labour Party president Claire Szabo said of her party's win on broadcaster TVNZ. "National will re-emerge from this loss a stronger, disciplined and more connected party", she said.

National Party candidate Judith Collins, suffering what the Herald described as "an absolute bloodbath", phoned Ardern to congratulate her on her "outstanding result".

Ardern had dubbed the vote "the Covid election" and campaigned on her government's success in eliminating community transmission of the virus, which has caused just 25 deaths in a population of five million. Debt is forecast to rise to 56 percent of gross domestic product from less than 20 percent before the pandemic.

The party's support typically sits around the mid-40s and Collins admitted there was probably complacency among some of her colleagues who viewed Ardern's shock win three years ago as a one-off.

Referendum votes will be counted after election day and preliminary results will be released on October 30. Two referendums were also held alongside the election on whether cannabis and euthanasia should be legalized.

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