2020-10-14 15:22

Ardern set to win in New Zealand's 'Covid-19 election' 3dE世界播



New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an event near Wellington on Oct 13, 2020. 3dE世界播


WELLINGTON (AFP) - There were no masks on display as about 1,000 university students gave Jacinda Ardern a rock-star reception during her final Wellington campaign rally this week - and the New Zealand Prime Minister was fine with that. 3dE世界播

惠灵顿(法新社)-本周在杰辛达·阿德恩(Jacinda Ardern)的最后一次惠灵顿竞选集会上,大约1000名大学生给她举行了摇滚明星招待会,现场没有展示面具-新西兰总理对此无动于衷。3dE世界播

MsArdern, also without a face covering, happily posed for selfies alongside dozens of youthful supporters, rubbing shoulders with a disregard for social distancing that would spark outrage almost anywhere else in the world. 3dE世界播


Success containing Covid-19 means masks and distancing are no longer mandatory in New Zealand, an achievement upon which MsArdern has staked her political future in Saturday's general election. 3dE世界播


"When people ask, is this a Covid election, my answer is yes, it is," the charismatic centre-left leader said when launching her bid for another three-year term. 3dE世界播


Indications so far are that the strategy is working, with MsArdern's Labour Party enjoying a strong lead in opinion polls after a campaign light on policy detail but full of references to quashing the coronavirus. 3dE世界播


"Who's better placed to keep New Zealand safe and who's better placed to get us on track to recovery?" the 40-year-old asked during a debate with MsJudith Collins, leader of the main opposition National Party. 3dE世界播


New Zealand has recorded just 25 Covid-19 deaths in a population of five million and its response has been singled out for praise by the World Health Organisation. 3dE世界播


Aside from closed borders and a pandemic-induced recession, everyday life on the South Pacific nation is near-normal, as unrestricted crowds flock to sporting events and bars without fear of infection. 3dE世界播


The pandemic upended the election, which was initially poised as a cliffhanger, with some criticising MsArdern's policy shortcomings while others praised her leadership after last year's Christchurch mosques terrorist attack in which 51 people died. 3dE世界播


The students cheering in Wellington on Tuesday said the coronavirus crisis had reinforced their support for MsArdern. 3dE世界播


For history major David Coyle, it was enough to overcome disappointment with her failure to meet promises on issues such as housing affordability and reducing child poverty. 3dE世界播

对于历史专业的大卫·科伊尔(David Coyle)来说,这足以克服她在住房负担能力和减少儿童贫困等问题上未能兑现承诺的失望情绪。3dE世界播

"This year's all about the Covid and she's done a pretty damn good job on that," he told AFP after MsArdern's appearance at Wellington's Victoria University. 3dE世界播


Geography student Alyssa Thomas said MsArdern, an adept user of social media, had earned the right to mingle with supporters ahead of Saturday's polls. 3dE世界播

地理系学生Alyssa Thomas表示,熟练使用社交媒体的阿德恩女士在周六投票前获得了与支持者打成一片的权利。3dE世界播

"Most of my friends follow her... I think she compares pretty well to (US President) Donald Trump at the moment, some of my friends are from America and they like her," MsThomas said. 3dE世界播


As MsArdern was being feted before adoring students, MsCollins was across town at a more modest meeting in a tiny suburban community centre attended by about 30 National Party faithful. 3dE世界播


The combative 61-year-old, nicknamed "Crusher" for her hardline policies while serving as the police minister under a former government, has performed well in debates but so far failed to generate campaign momentum. 3dE世界播


She took over in July as the National Party's fourth leader since the last election, but is polling at 31 per cent, 16 points down on the conservative party's support when it last won an election in 2014. 3dE世界播


MsCollins has attacked border failures that likely led to a second wave of infections in Auckland in August and argues the National Party is best placed to steer New Zealand through its economic crisis. 3dE世界播


However, the Auckland spike has now been eliminated and National's economic credibility was damaged when its proposed budget plan proved to be out by at least NZ$4billion (S$3.6 billion). 3dE世界播


"I never give up, I'm a fighter, always keep going and I'm utterly positive for our country, I've got a vision to sell," MsCollins said. 3dE世界播


About 3.4 million people are registered to vote in the election, which was originally set for Sept19 but delayed by the Auckland outbreak. 3dE世界播


Labour currently holds power in coalition with the Greens and the New Zealand First party, led by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, who will struggle to remain in Parliament. 3dE世界播


However, polls suggest Labour has a chance of winning office with an outright majority, a situation unprecedented since New Zealand adopted a German-style mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1996. 3dE世界播


Even if MsArdern falls short, support from the Greens would likely get her over the line. 3dE世界播


Voters will also cast ballots in two referendums, one on legalising recreational cannabis and the other on legalising euthanasia, although the results of those votes will not be known until Oct 30. 3dE世界播


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