Historic victory for Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand elections

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has stormed back into power with an historic vote on Oct 17, set to govern alone with more than 90% of the vote counted.

No leader in New Zealand has been able to govern without the support of other parties since the current MMP system was implemented in 1996. It is the biggest Labour victory in 50 years.

“This is a historic shift,” said political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington, describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years. Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

Ardern, 40, promised supporters she would build an economy that works for everyone, create jobs, train people, protect the environment and address climate challenges and social inequalities.

“We are living in an increasingly polarised world,” she said. “A place where more and more have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view. I hope that with this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are.”

Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said she congratulated the Prime Minister for an “outstanding result”.

 Labour had 49.0 per cent of the votes, far ahead of National at 27 per cent, the Electoral Commission said, with 95per cent of ballots counted.

Ardern said she would wait until the final result to say if her government would include smaller groups like the Green Party, a former coalition partner that secured a bigger mandate.