New Zealand votes: Blow for Jacinda Ardern's election hopes

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson

Jacinda Ardern has promised to quit politics if she loses Saturday's New Zealand election, however, the final poll of the campaign gives the Labour leader no pause for concern.

Last night's 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll had support for Labour at 46 per cent, National on 31 per cent with the Greens and ACT both on 8 per cent and New Zealand First coming in at 3 per cent.

The Labour leader is sitting comfortably in front of her National Party opponent, Judith Collins, and her party is on track for victory.

"I think it is probably true to say that either political party would take the view that a small country needs to try to be friends to everyone where that is possible and to promote and support a fair rules-based system such as the WTO (World Trade Organization), so that any country can get justice if they need it, no matter what their size", she said. "The gap between Labour and the National/Act coalition is narrowing, and we don't know whether the Green party will make it back into parliament", Duncan said, adding that the scenario of the Greens failing to reach the 5% threshold or win an electorate seat was "unlikely but perilously close".

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "It is hard to see an election outcome which does not return Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister".

Ardern has framed the ballot as "the Covid election" and her appeal rests largely on her success combatting the virus, with just 25 deaths in New Zealand's population of five million.

In addition to her pandemic response, Ardern has won support at home and global admiration for her response to last year's attack by a white supremacist on two mosques and a fatal volcanic eruption.

She told RNZ today her government had been progressive but needed more time to tackle the difficulties presented by covid-19.

The race has turned from the beginning of the year, when polling indicated National was tracking ahead of Labour.

The pandemic-battered economy has become a key focus in the election.

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Much of the campaign has been around New Zealand's response to COVID-19.

Ardern has also been challenged on her government's record on various measures and commitments it promised at the last election to meet, including child poverty, housing, light rail in Auckland, and climate change. Asked by a reporter whether she'd be commiserating on Saturday, Collins laughed.

A Christchurch ice cream parlor offers a selection of flavors named after political party leaders on October 14, ahead of the election.

She was elected to parliament in 2008 and in March 2017 became Labour's deputy leader, saying at the time that she was not ambitious and saw herself as a backroom staffer. "As such, we expect currency and interest rate reaction from a Labour-led victory to be modest", he said.

Ardern, right, walks with Imam Gamal Fouda from the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on September 24, 2020, where she unveiled a plaque in memory of the victims of the March 2019 Christchurch terror attack.

Little has separated the two main political parties in foreign affairs policy in recent decades.

The executive director of the New Zealand-China Council, Rachel Maidment, agrees.

The day after the attack, Ardern wore a hijab when meeting with survivors and later delivered a landmark speech when she declared, "They are us".

So far, however, New Zealand has avoided the level of tensions that have troubled China's relationship with Australia and other Western countries.

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