New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern sworn in for second term
06 Nov 2020
Jacinda Ardern addresses her supporters at a Labour Party event in Wellington. File photo/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern swore in its new cabinet on Friday. Ardern was also sworn in for a second term as final election results showed her landslide victory.
According to final New Zealand Electoral Commission results, Ardern’s Labour Party increased its majority to 65 seats from 64 in the 120-seat assembly. The results included an additional 500,000 special votes, some of them mailed in from overseas.
The charismatic leader and her ministers made their oaths of office in English and Maori during a ceremony at Wellington's Government House.
"I would say simply that sitting at this table is Aotearoa New Zealand," Ardern said, gesturing to her gathered team, in which women and Maori are strongly represented.
New Zealand's FM Nanaia Mahuta (cenyre) attends a cabinet meeting at the Parliament House in Wellington. AFP
"They collectively represent a range of different perspectives, huge talent, enormous experience and, as you would expect in any time of crisis, a huge commitment to serving this country."
The pandemic is one of a string of emergencies that tested Ardern's leadership during a torrid first term, after she rode to an unexpected victory in 2017 polls on the back of a wave of support dubbed "Jacinda-mania".
Since the election, Ardern has signalled she wants reform, but not at a rate that would alienate the centrist voters who switched support to Labour in the poll.
"We must make sure we represent all those who elected us, be they in city seats, rural seats, general seats or Maori seats," she told reporters Friday.
The main opposition National Party saw its seats reduced from 35 to 33, prompting campaign director Gerry Brownlee to step down as deputy party leader.
Ardern said she had a clear mandate for reform, although her priorities were containing Covid-19 and rebuilding the virus-damaged economy.