The mandate exists for Labour; will form govt in 3 weeks: Jacinda Ardern

She was addressing media persons in Auckland.

Credit : Time Magazine

Following her landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election, Prime Minister and Labour Party head Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday she would form the government within three weeks. She refused to comment on whether the Greens would join the new government. She was addressing media persons in Auckland.

She said they would start working. New Zealand Herald quoted Ardern as saying, "My expectation is that we will form a government within the next two to three weeks."

"We clearly have a mandate on behalf of New Zealand to crack on with government formation."

The Labour party’s leaders would meet on Monday. Ardern could "talk to the Greens" but she said, "the mandate does exist for Labour". Ardern said there were many points of agreement with the Greens. Though she refused to draw conclusions, Ardern said she had always favoured consensus.

She appeared confident about allotting ministerial berths to colleagues by striking a balance between experience and new talent.

"It's fair to say we have a very talented team of people coming into this term in government." Though in favour of a consensus, Ardern said also sought "straightforward arrangements" for this term.


Result exceeded expectations

The New Zealand PM said the result did not shock her as her party had laboured really hard for the mandate they got. "In terms of the numbers ... it did exceed my expectations. I think that is fair to say." Underlining her priorities, she said besides Covid-19 there would be other projects, which would not be any surprises.

She cited the example of the loan scheme for businesses which they could "crack on with" forthwith. When asked whether Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis would continue to be deputy PM, Ardern replied that he would be deputy leader "and that is usually the order of things".

The Labour Party led by Ardern got 49.1% votes winning an absolute majority. The opposition National Party got 26.8% votes while it won only 35 seats in the 120-seat assembly.


The poll delayed by a month due to the pandemic

Besides voting for a candidate and a party, New Zealanders also participated in two referendums: On euthanasia and the cannabis law. The former allows terminally ill persons an alternative of assisted death on request. It will become a law if over 50% vote in its favour. The latter would legalise the use of cannabis for recreational purpose. This may not become law even if a majority favours it.

 The results for both these referendums would be out on October 30.