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New Zealand goes to the polls as Ardern seeks a second term

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One question will be whether Labor can win a full majority in Parliament, something that has not happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically, parties need to form alliances to govern, but this time there is a chance that Ardern and Labor will be able to do it alone.

Ardern rival Collins says she still believes she can win and that polls have been wrong in the past, particularly in relation to Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.

Ardern, 40, won the top spot after the 2017 election when Labor formed an alliance with two other parties. The following year, she became only the second world leader to be born while in office.

She became a role model for working mothers around the world, many of whom saw her as a scapegoat for President Donald Trump. And she was praised for her treatment of recent attacks on two mosques in Christchurch when a white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshipers.

It moved quickly to pass new laws banning the most deadly types of semi-automatic weapons.

At the end of March this year, when only about 100 people tested positive for COVID-19, Ardern and its health officials put New Zealand in a tight deadlock with a Go hard motto and go early. She closed the borders and described an ambitious goal of eliminating the virus altogether rather than simply trying to control its spread.

With New Zealand having the advantage of being an isolated island country, the strategy worked. New Zealand eliminated the community broadcast for 102 days before a new band was unveiled in August in Auckland. Ardern quickly placed a second block in Auckland and the new explosion went out. The only new cases found recently have been among returning travelers who are in quarantine.

The spread of Auckland also prompted Ardern to postpone the election by a month and helped boost early voter turnout.

Collins, 61, is a former lawyer. She served as minister when National was in power and boasts a sharp, senseless approach, a contrast to Arderns’ empathic style. Collins is promising major tax cuts in response to the economic downturn caused by the virus.

In elections, voters also have a say in two controversial social issues whether they should legalize marijuana and euthanasia. Polls suggest a referendum on euthanasia is likely to pass as the marijuana vote remains close.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds homemade cheesecake as she arrives at an event to thank her electoral party workers in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding general elections on Saturday and Opinion polls suggest Ardern is on track to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveils her cheese-made cheese as she arrives at an event to thank her constituency workers in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding general elections Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is on track to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stands with her constituency workers at an event in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding a general election on Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is in the right way to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stands with her constituency workers at an event in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding a general election on Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is in the right way to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes gestures as she thanks her electorate at an event in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding a general election on Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is on track to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes gestures as she thanks her electorate at an event in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding a general election on Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is on track to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes gestures as she thanks her electorate at an event in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday, October 17, 2020. New Zealand is holding a general election on Saturday and opinion polls show Ardern is on track to win a second term as prime minister. (Photo by AP / Mark Baker)

Credit: Mark Baker

Credit: Mark Baker



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