SYDNEY, Australia – Her face has been honored with magazine covers around the world. His leadership style was studied by Harvard scholars. Her science-and-solidarity approach to coronavirus, which includes answering questions on a sweatshirt after putting her daughter to bed, has garnered legions of fans in other countries who wrote to say, “Want I think you are here. “
The global left (and a chunk of the middle) has fallen sharply for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, giving her an amazing presence for a leader who manages a smaller population than many mayors. Now the voters of his country are also roaming around.
On Saturday, Ms. Ardern, 40, is on his way to a second term. Early results in a national election show his Labor Party is expected to win a clear majority in Parliament, with nearly 66 out of 120 seats and 50.3 per cent of the vote – its strongest showing, so far, since New Zealand overhauled its electoral system in the mid-1990s.
Riding in a wave of support for her “go hard, go early” response to the coronavirus, which is now effectively stamped in the country, Ms. Ardern held his position as New Zealand’s most famous prime minister for generations, otherwise.
The massive win reflects the rapid rise of political stardom.
Just three years ago, Ms. Ardern was a last-minute choice to lead the Labor Party, and during his first term, he often struggled to fulfill his progressive promises, from making housing more affordable to eliminating child poverty and attacking climate change. .
But after managing the responses to the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, the eruption of the White Island volcano and a pandemic – not to mention the birth of his first child – he quickly became a worldwide standard bearer for a progressive policy that defines itself as compassionate and crisis-capable.
“The anti-Trump?” That’s what Vogue calls him. “Saint Jacinda?” That one came from the usual hard-earned Times, while a New York Times editorial last year carried the headline: “America deserves a Leader as good as Jacinda Ardern.”
In New Zealand, a small c conservative or small center of the kind of country where the love of Ms. Ardern usually delayed his profile abroad, finally having a mandate that (almost) matched his international worship. If the Labor margin held, it would be the first time since 1951 that a party had won more than 50 per cent of the vote in New Zealand.
What is not known is whether that will help deliver key policy achievements that have been avoided by him.
“She has significant political capital,” said Jennifer Curtin, director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland. “He needs to keep his promises with more ingredients.”
Ms. Ardern has little to say about his legislative plans. He primarily won a pandemic-fueled support campaign, as New Zealand recently declared that community coronavirus transmission was eliminated a second time.
The remote Pacific island nation of five million people, which has risen to just 25 coronavirus deaths, now looks and feels normal: A recent rugby match between Australia and New Zealand in Wellington, the capital, has drawn 30,000 fans.
Due to such development when other countries see an increase in coronavirus cases, Ms. Ardern through his campaign with the slogan, “Let’s keep moving.”
His opponent, Judith Collins, a lawyer and member of the central right National Party, tried to restore her credibility by arguing that the virus re-emerged in August on Ms. Ardern due to some form of border protocol violation or a quarantine facility.
In a few debates, Mrs. Collins sought to describe Ms. Ardern as unreliable, brighter than the firm leader. In the last days of his career, he labeled the prime minister a liar.
“He told us on June 23 everything was tested. What a lie,” Ms. Collins at one of his final campaign events this week. “When he said he was hard and fast, he became slow and pitiful. And he lied to us about what was happening.”
Polls show that Ms. Collins has never gained much strength in attack lines like this.
But even Ms. Ardern has run for another term, his next government will face an unfamiliar set of challenges.
Historically New Zealanders liked their politics in the middle. Coalition governments are the norm, and the first term of Ms. Ardern is marked by a populist partnership, right-wing New Zealand First Party, which is expected not to win seats at this time.
Now Labor can manage alone with the support of the Greens (they are expected to win around 10 places), giving him more freedom to move left. This will increase the pressure on her to follow the progressive commitments she has made over the years about eliminating child poverty, fixing a housing crisis that has plagued many middle-class families, and more. aggressively addressing climate change.
The main decision faced by Ms. Ardern is how far pushed, which measures, at a time when the economy is still threatened by the pandemic, and the party he leads is still unsure about what to do with the sudden fate.
In a democratic parliamentary like New Zealand, the law can move quickly, which means the success or failure of new policies will fall heavily on its shoulders.
“If you can’t blame the minor party for putting on the hand brake, you better make sure you deliver,” said Richard Shaw, a professor of politics at Massey University in Palmerston North.
One option is to give up his or her usual preference for consensus and reach as far and fast as possible. The more likely option, observers say, is that he will recognize that he has won slightly in the right centers of the voters, and will last in the middle as he hunts for a third or fourth term – a Labor dynasty.
On his basis, Professor Curtin said, “he was a reformist rather than a radical.”
Morgan Godfery, a writer and commentator who specializes in political issues affecting indigenous peoples, said Ms Ardern reflected on the political environment in which she came from.
“The Labor Party is a matter of contradiction today, because they have been more popular than at any point since 1940, but they are more cautious,” he said. “They don’t seem to be sure how they will use fame. There is very little new thinking about housing, tax, Maori issues.”
During the campaign, Ms. decided. Ardern a tax favor favored by the Greens, which would require individuals with a net worth of more than one million New Zealand dollars, or about $ 665,000, to pay 1 percent of their wealth above that threshold as taxes. Those worth more than 2 million dollars will pay 2 percent.
Asked for a new idea to stimulate the economy after the pandemic during the second debate in late September, he gave a conventional response.
“Invest in our people,” he said. “Make students free. Make vocational training free. Put them in vocational jobs that grow the economy.”
Professor Curtin said that in many ways, Ms. Ardern on the impact of the pandemic economy – emphasizing infrastructure, small businesses and exporters – reflects the traditional thinking that ignores industries, such as healthcare and childcare, that can make more for the economy and encourage more equality.
“She said she was a feminist,” Professor Curtin said, “but she was cautious and perhaps too slow in responding to the material well-being of many women in New Zealand, particularly the poorer women or older women. “
Oliver Hartwich, executive director of the New Zealand Initiative, a center-right think tank, said Ms. Ardern has become a more effective communicator than policy strategist.
“When it comes to PR, when it comes to her daily press conference on the Covid crisis – to get people together and explain what she wants to do and what she wants to achieve, no one is close to what Jacinda is doing. He is phenomenal and a real talent, “Mr. Hartwich said.
“Where he is not good,” he added, “is in the details of the policy, in the details of strategy, implementation, implementation, analysis, of all the normal things that go hand in hand with the government. There he falls.”
However, for many voters this week, the clear practices of Ms. Ardern in crisis management is more than enough.
Steph Cole, 58, a motel owner in Hamilton, said she often voted for her candidacy for the National Party. He chose Labor for the first time, he said, after seeing how Ms. Ardern attacks Christchurch and the pandemic, uniting the country in times of life and death.
“I think Jacinda Ardern describes everything that should be a good leader,” Ms. Cole.
Natasha Frost contributed a report from Rotorua, New Zealand. Yan Zhuang contributed research from Melbourne, Australia.