New Zealand national election is set to be held on September 19, 2020, and the incumbent Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern is seeking a second term. Many political analysts suggested she would be facing tight competition from the other opposition parties in the upcoming national election. National issues including the legalization of cannabis and euthanasia are likely to dominate the debate for the election.
Mix Reactions on the Current Administration
Ardern who is now 39 years old became the world’s youngest female leader in 2017 after she took charge of the PM office of New Zealand on October 26 of the year. Her current tenure for the office of the PM would end in the month of August 2020 after the completion of three-year terms.
She is looking for a second term of her leadership in the upcoming national election and will witness the New Zealanders voting in a referendum on the divisive issues of legalizing cannabis and euthanasia. Following the news of the national election, Ardern said, the current parliament would be officially dissolved on August 12, 2020, and until then the government would be functioning as usual.
As per the Reuters, the current Ardern administration in the country received a mix response from the people. Over the years, critics have been attacking her policies that prioritized global problems rather than national and local issues. Despite her huge popularity especially among liberal or labor voters overseas, she received a diverse reaction from the people on the issues including mass shooting, climate change policy and multilateralism, and her motherhood and politics.
Ardern’s popularity in the country reduced substantially due to the rise of the rapid decline of economic growth, unsuccessful state housing projects, and scandals within her coalition government. She formed a government in 2017 with the alliance of other parties after defeating the center-right National Party (NP).
Tight Race for Ardern in the Upcoming Election
Political analysts suggested that the upcoming election would be a close contest between Ardern and the opposition leader; the issues on legalizing cannabis and euthanasia would emerge one of the key factors for the election’s outcomes. An Associate Professor at Massey University in Auckland, Grant Duncan explained, “I am not making predictions on this as it’s going to be a tight race.” Duncan further illustrated that the referendum introduced by the Green Party would bring a decisive factor as the issue would encourage younger voters to the polls.
As Reuters reported, the two opinion polls in October 2019 showed the decline of Ardern’s popularity as the domestic economy had been constantly slowed down due to certain factors including Brexit and the US-China trade war. However, the ruling government announced a New Zealand Dollar 12 billion ($7.7 billion) budget as a part of its 2020 economic growth forecast last month.
The opposition party, National Party leader Simon Bridges said in a statement, “New Zealanders have seen that Labor and Jacinda Ardern can’t deliver… While there’s a lot of announcements, leadership means actually getting things done.”
In a news conference, Ardern appealed, “I will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy, and progress on the long term challenges facing New Zealand.” Citing her policy of “relentlessly positive” 2020 election campaign, Ardern insisted, “We will be asking for a further term to get the job done.”
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