World New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern wins second term in...

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern wins second term in landslide election with ‘be strong, be kind’ mantra | World News

-


WELLINGTON: Jacinda Ardern turned speaking from the heart and smiling through adversity into a winning formula for blowout re-election as New Zealand`s leader on Saturday.

Now Ardern, who made a name for herself by crushing COVID-19 in the country and healing the nation after a massacre of Muslims by a white supremacist, faces a challenge to show her leadership extends beyond crisis management and kindness.

Her Labour Party won a landslide victory in the general election, a resounding mandate that ushers in New Zealand`s first purely left-leaning government in decades and may allow her to form a single-party government. 

The win is also the reward for Ardern`s leadership through a series of extraordinary events that shaped her first three-year term: the gunman`s massacre of 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques and the eruption of the White Island volcano, which killed 21.

“Be strong, be kind,” said New Zealand`s youngest prime minister in more than a century repeated through these dramatic events, her empathetic leadership and crisis management skills often masking her government`s shortcomings.

Ardern`s left-leaning government will face a looming economic hangover from COVID-19, a deep plunge in output and surge in debt after her strict lockdowns, a worsening housing crisis and a growing divide between rich and poor.

Despite promising a transformational term in 2017, Ardern`s affordable housing programme was set back by blunders, plans for a capital gains tax that would have addressed the growing rich-poor divide were scrapped, and her government fell woefully short of its goal to reduce child poverty.

Even on climate change, which Ardern called “my generation`s nuclear-free moment”, progress has been incremental.

“I think it`s fair to say they have not achieved what they had hoped to achieve,” said Ganesh Nana, Research Director at Wellington economic think tank BERL. “There are many disappointed with the pace of change.”

Ardern burst onto the global scene in 2017 when she became the world`s youngest female head of government at the age of 37.

She became a global icon in a rise dubbed “Jacinda-mania,” as she campaigned passionately for women`s rights and an end to child poverty and economic inequality in the island nation.

Ardern raised a Mormon by her mother and police officer father, left the church over its stance on LGBTQ people in the early 2000s and has since described herself as agnostic.

Asked by a television presenter, hours after being appointed Labour leader in 2017, whether she planned to have children, Ardern said it was “totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace”.

Ardern did in fact have a baby daughter in June 2018, eight months after becoming prime minister – only the second elected leader to give birth while in office, after Pakistan`s Benazir Bhutto.

Many took her pregnancy and maternity leave in office as symbolising progress for women leaders. Within three months of arriving in the world, her daughter Neve Te Aroha was at the U.N. General Assembly in New York with her mother.

Ardern is feted globally as part of a new wave of progressive and young leaders that include France`s Emmanuel Macron and Canada`s Justin Trudeau.

Helen Clark, a former New Zealand prime minister for whom Ardern worked after university, said the young leader represents a refreshing and sharp point of difference in a world where news is dominated by utterances of populist and authoritarian leaders.

“Jacinda Ardern can be best compared with the three Scandinavian women prime ministers who are from the centre-left,” said Clark, co-chair of a World Health Organization panel on the global COVID-19 response.

“All of them have led good responses to the pandemic, putting health security first and communicating in an empathetic way with the public in each of their countries.”

Last year Ardern received worldwide praise for her response to the Christchurch attacks, which she labelled terrorism. She wore a hijab as she met the Muslim community the next day, telling them the country was “united in grief”.

She delivered a ban on semiautomatic firearms and other gun curbs, a stark contrast to the United States, where lawmakers and activists have struggled to address gun violence despite numerous mass shootings.

At the U.N. General Assembly, Ardern, asked world leaders: “What if we no longer see ourselves based on what we look like, what religion we practice, or where we live … but by what we value?

“Humanity, kindness, an innate sense of our connection to each other. And a belief that we are guardians, not just of our home and our planet, but of each other.”





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s youngest daughter, makes political debut in Multan | World News

Karachi: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, the youngest daughter of Pakistan's slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, made her political debut...

Bank holiday December 2020: Banks will remain closed for 11 days in total, all you should know | Personal Finance News

New Delhi: December is here and so is the last list of bank holidays for the year 2020. The...

US COVID-19 vaccine trial in coming weeks after second delay: Novavax | World News

New York: Vaccine maker Novavax Inc said on Monday it has pushed back the start of a US-based,...

Indian-American Neera Tanden in Joe Biden’s top economic team; check US President-elect’s diverse advisers | World News

Setting the stage for a more diverse White House, US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named Indian-American Neera...

WHO worried COVID-19 ‘amnesia’ will lead to another pandemic | Health News

GENEVA: The World Health Organization`s (WHO) top emergency expert said on Monday that the world risked future pandemics...

Emmanuel Macron-led French government drops plan to curb filming of police officers | World News

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron`s ruling party on Monday dropped plans to curb the freedom to share images...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

en English
X