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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern begins campaign after taming virus

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. File

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicked off her Labour Party’s election campaign Saturday riding high in the opinion polls after a successful response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ms. Ardern’s popularity as preferred Prime Minister topped 60% in the latest surveys following her leadership through the Christchurch mosque attacks, the White Island volcanic eruption and the pandemic.

Before the virus forced New Zealand to seal its borders, the polls had pointed to a cliffhanger election on September 19, but support swung sharply towards the centre-left Labour Party as the country eliminated community transmission in a matter of months.

In a country of five million people, New Zealand has had only 22 COVID-19 deaths and it has been 99 days since the last recorded case of infection from an unknown source.

“When people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is,” the charismatic Ms. Ardern, 40, said as she launched the campaign with a NZ$311 million ($205 million) pledge to boost jobs.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 5:44:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/new-zealand-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-begins-campaign-after-taming-virus/article32307320.ece

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