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Ardern Stunning Election Victory Holds Lessons for US | national




Jacinda Ardern’s marked victory in the election is seen as an endorsement of a comprehensive leadership brand that can wave beyond New Zealand’s borders.

In an era of populism and confrontation, Ardern’s message of empathy and kindness married to skilled crisis management won its Labor Party the most votes in more than 70 years. This contrasts with divisive politics in the US as Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off for the presidency on November 3rd.

“Ardern’s approach can be a lesson for other leaders seeking to maximize their support base,” said Zareh Ghazarian, a senior professor of politics and international relations at Monash University in Melbourne. “Not only has she been able to lead the nation through very challenging circumstances, but she has also been able to successfully communicate an overall vision. In New Zealand it is about inclusive politics.”

Ardern, 40, won international acclaim for her response to the deadly shooting at two mosques in 2019, donating a headscarf as a sign of respect as she mourned with the Muslim community. This year, it has demonstrated its steel in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, adopting one of the strictest blockades in the world to destroy community transmission.

It passed into the wave of worship that resulted in securing the first full majority in parliament since New Zealand introduced proportional representation in 1996. Labor won 49% of the vote and 64 of the 120 seats in parliament. The rate of victory may spur its global appeal among those who already see it as a bearer of standards for liberal values.

Ardern is now in a position to lead New Zealand’s left-wing government for decades but has yet to decide whether to include its ally the Green Party, which wants more action on issues such as poverty and change. climate.

Ironically, her added mandate may push her to curb her left-wing instincts as she seeks to depend on center-right voters who have flocked to her banner.

“It will be a big dilemma for him, whether he will go left or stay in that center,” said Lara Greaves, a lecturer in New Zealand politics at the University of Auckland. “Does she want to try to be a four-term prime minister or does she want to make a transformative policy that changes people’s lives?”

Her re-election shows the continuation of a nuanced foreign policy stance towards China. Ardern has tried not to oppose New Zealand’s largest trading partner by maintaining close ties with the US and other Western allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance.

Its focus will be on the major economic and social challenges ahead as New Zealand designs a recovery from the recession.

The border is expected to remain closed in 2021, destroying tourism and international education, while the unemployment rate is projected to rise. Economists at Infometrics last week posed the risk of another recession in 2021.

The nation faces persistent budget deficits and net debt that will increase to 56% of gross domestic product by 2026 from 28% by mid-2020, according to Treasury forecasts.

Labor said it would impose a 39% tax on income over $ 180,000 NZ ($ 119,000) to help pay off Covid’s response and keep the debt under control. It aims to stimulate investment and create jobs through large infrastructure projects and small business incentives.

The key to recovery may be a property boom caused by record low interest rates that have seen house prices rise 7.6% in the past year. This in turn has made it more difficult for many to enter the housing market – something Ardern is trying to fix by removing barriers to building new homes.

But she has ruled out significant tax reforms to address wealth inequality and has given no indication since her victory that she intends to be more proactive on issues such as poverty and homelessness. Unlike 2017, when investors stood out from its imminent rise to power, markets seem reckless from the prospect of a second term, with stocks rallying on the eve of its victory.

The results of two referendums held alongside the election are expected on October 30th. New Zealanders are expected to vote in favor of euthanasia but against the legalization of cannabis.

Voters reward Ardern for its successful response to COVID-19, which stands in stark contrast to countries like the UK, US and even neighboring Australia, where authorities are still struggling to contain the virus.

Ardern stood out among its Western counterparts in pursuing a clear elimination strategy and imposed one of the strictest nationwide blockades in the world. This shut down the economy, but eradicated the spread of the virus in the community, allowing restrictions to be lifted faster than in many other countries. A second blast in the larger city of Auckland was also quickly suppressed with a regional blockade, though a new community case was reported on Sunday.

“The way the prime minister puts health ahead of the economy will be of interest, especially to other Social Democrat leaders around the world,” said Bryce Edwards, a political analyst at Victoria University in Wellington. “They will now see Ardern as the leader of those internationally left-wing parties and they will want to learn from it.”

Asked on Sunday if she had a message for Americans as they were heading towards their election, Ardern said it was not her place to comment.

“But my hope as someone who has, of course, a strong interest in politics is that we have elections all over the world where we try to go beyond the divisive nature that elections can sometimes bring, because that can be detrimental to democracy. , “she said.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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