Wellington, New Zealand:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was sworn in for a second term on Friday as the final election results showed her landslide victory was even bigger than previously thought.
The charismatic leader and her ministers took their oath of office in English and Maori during a ceremony at the Wellington Government House.
“I would simply say that Aotearoa New Zealand is sitting at this table,” said Ardern, pointing to their assembled team, which is made up of women and Maori.
“Together they represent a range of different perspectives, great talent, enormous experience and, as one would expect in times of crisis, great commitment to this country.”
The 40-year-old Ardern used her success in the fight against Covid-19 in the October 17 election to an unprecedented majority and led her center-left Labor party to her biggest victory since World War II.
The final results released on Friday showed Ardern won 50.0 percent of the vote, up from 49.0 on election night, giving her 65 seats in the 120-member parliament instead of 64.
The seats of the main opposition party were reduced from 35 to 33, prompting campaign leader Gerry Brownlee to step down as vice chairman.
Ardern said she had a clear mandate to reform, although her priorities included Covid-19 and rebuilding the virus-ravaged economy.
The pandemic is one of a series of emergencies that put Ardern’s leadership to the test during a hot first term after it drove to an unexpected poll victory in 2017 due to a surge of support dubbed the “Jacinda mania” .
She showed both empathy and decisive action over gun control after a white supremacist rifleman killed 51 Muslim worshipers in the attack on Christchurch mosques last year.
Ardern once again comforted a shocked nation when a volcanic eruption on White Island, also known as Whakaari, killed 21 people and left dozens more horribly burned.
While Ardern was praised for her crisis management, she was criticized during her first term for failing to keep important promises such as improving housing affordability, protecting the environment and reducing child poverty.
Since the elections, Ardern has signaled that it wants reform, but not at a rate that would alienate centrist voters who switched support to Labor in the poll.
“We have to make sure that we represent everyone who has chosen us, be it in city seats, rural seats, general seats or Maori seats,” she told reporters on Friday.
She had announced measures on infrastructure projects, including more government housing and more renewable energies, as well as a determination to address issues such as climate change, poverty and inequality.
Edward Elder, a senior lecturer specializing in political communication at the University of Auckland, said Ardern is likely to take an “incrementalist” approach to reform.
“It really depends on what the Labor government thinks is possible to make long-term change instead of going too far, facing a tough backlash and having National after 2023 and just rolling back all of its decisions,” said he opposite AFP.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)