New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern-hailed by progressives around the world for her government's response to the Covid-19, gun violence, and climate crises-has won a landslide re-election victory as vote counting in the country's general election came to a close on Saturday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered the biggest election victory for her center-left Labour Party in half a century on Saturday as voters rewarded her for decisive leadership in recent months.
"This has not been an ordinary election, and it's not an ordinary time", she told her supporters. "It's been full of uncertainty and anxiety and we set out to be an antidote for that".
"We will take time to reflect and we will review and we will change", she said, adding the National Party will "reemerge from this loss a stronger, disciplined and more connected party".
"Thank you to the many people who gave us their vote".
The Electoral Commission said nearly 2 million ballots had already been cast as of Friday, accounting for more than half of the roughly 3.5 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.
Her popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to stamp out the coronavirus.
Other items on the ballot included two major referendums that reflect sweeping social change in the island nation of 5 million. She has since been celebrated as a role model for working mothers. She displayed both empathy and decisive action on gun control after a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosques attack past year.
New Zealand has a relatively low level of COVID-19 compared to many European countries.
In 1979, a freshly-elected Labour MP called Geoffrey Palmer wrote a book on New Zealand's political landscape titled Unbridled Power. The country eliminated community transmission for 102 days before a new cluster was discovered in August in Auckland.
Earlier this year, Ms Ardern moved swiftly to quell the outbreak by imposing one of the world's most stringent lockdowns.
In a concession speech, Collins promised that the National Party would lick its wounds and return to fight another day.
Ardern arrived at Auckland Town Hall on Friday night to a jubilant reception as she took the stage with Labour MPs and her partner, radio and television presenter Clarke Gayford.
"It is an outstanding result for the Labour Party", Collins said. "It has been a tough campaign", Collins told cheering supporters in Auckland.
"Three years will be gone in the blink of an eye and I say to everybody we will be back", Collins said.
New Zealanders had to wait nearly a month before Peters announced he would form a coalition with the Labour Party, becoming deputy prime minister. National won the largest share of the total vote in 2017, with 44%, but was then unable to find support from minor parties to form a coalition government. "It's a tremendous accolade first and foremost to the prime minister, but also to the wider Labour team and the Labour movement", he said.
Votes in the two referendums on end of life choice and cannabis will not be counted on election night. The results of those polls won't be released until October 30.