New Zealand’s next Parliament is set to be the most diverse ever


Wellington: New Zealand’s next Parliament is set to be the most inclusive ever, with several people of colour, members from the rainbow communities and a high number of women.

The ruling Labour Party was handed a resounding mandate in the election over the weekend, as voters rewarded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her decisive response to COVID-19.

Jacinda Ardern speaks to media on her way to a meeting with her newly elected MPs at Parliament on Tuesday.Credit:Getty Images

Labour won 64 of the 120 parliamentary seats, and more than half of those are female candidates. It also has 16 indigenous Maori MPs, the first leader of African origin, Ibrahim Omar, and Vanushi Walters of Sri Lankan origin.

“This is the most diverse parliament we have ever had in terms of gender, and minority ethnic and indigenous representation,” said Professor Paul Spoonley from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University.



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New Zealand’s next Parliament is set to be the most diverse ever


Wellington: New Zealand’s next Parliament is set to be the most inclusive ever, with several people of colour, members from the rainbow communities and a high number of women.

The ruling Labour Party was handed a resounding mandate in the election over the weekend, as voters rewarded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her decisive response to COVID-19.

Jacinda Ardern speaks to media on her way to a meeting with her newly elected MPs at Parliament on Tuesday.Credit:Getty Images

Labour won 64 of the 120 parliamentary seats, and more than half of those are female candidates. It also has 16 indigenous Maori MPs, the first leader of African origin, Ibrahim Omar, and Vanushi Walters of Sri Lankan origin.

“This is the most diverse parliament we have ever had in terms of gender, and minority ethnic and indigenous representation,” said Professor Paul Spoonley from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University.



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New Zealand’s All Blacks defeat Australia 27-7 in second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland


Australia’s run of outs at Eden Park has continued, with New Zealand recording a convincing 27-7 victory in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland.

The Wallabies have not beaten the All Blacks at the venue since 1986 and the visitors backed their chances of snapping the losing streak following their spirited display in last weekend’s pulsating 16-16 draw in Wellington.

But the All Blacks were in a different class for much of the contest at Eden Park, scoring four tries to one to edge closer to retaining the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.

After holding a slender 10-7 lead at half-time, the All Blacks scored three tries in the second term and kept the Wallabies scoreless on the way to their 20th straight victory over their trans-Tasman rival at Eden Park.

The All Blacks and Wallabies will meet again in two Tests in Sydney (October 31) and Brisbane (November 7) in what is a revamped Rugby Championship tournament following the withdrawal of South Africa.

Both sides will also play Argentina in the three-nation competition.

The All Blacks, stung by a poor effort in the Bledisloe Cup opener, came into Sunday’s Test in Auckland with more venom.

Veteran hooker Dane Coles bristled with energy and the return of Beauden Barrett from injury injected penetrative pace.

There was some feeling in the early exchanges between the All Blacks and Wallabies.(AP: Mark Baker)

But the undoubted star was winger Caleb Clarke, who showed Jonah Lomu-like skills and strength as he bulldozed the Wallabies defence time and again to announce himself as a future star in the making.

Clarke, whose father Eroni played for the All Blacks, was so impressive he left the field to a standing ovation with 12 minutes remaining in the match.

The All Blacks did a great job protecting five-eighth Richie Mo’unga after he was ruffled by the Wallabies’ defence in Wellington.

They used skip passes to Jack Goodhue and Barrett also stepped into first receiver role.

After a Mo’unga penalty, it was Goodhue running at first receiver in the 23rd minute that led to the All Blacks’ first try.

Goodhue powered to within a metre of the line and Aaron Smith scooted around from the base of the ruck to score.

Ned Hanigan was a strong addition to the Wallabies’ starting XV and they struck back just on the half-hour mark when the blindside flanker broke through an attempted tackle by Joe Moody.

Moody was left face down on the turf after being knocked out when his head smacked into Hanigan’s hip.

Hanigan burst clear to give the Wallabies vital field position and they capitalised through Marika Koroibete scoring in the left corner.

Four Australian Wallabies players celebrate a try against New Zealand's All Blacks.
The Wallabies had a glimmer of hope when Marika Koroibete (second from right) scored a try.(AP: Mark Baker)

The Wallabies were dealt a blow from the ensuing kick-off when Matt To’omua appeared to strain a hip flexor while making a clearing kick and he was replaced by Jordan Petaia.

Leading by three points at half-time, the All Blacks started the second term with a try-scoring blitz.

Within three minutes of the resumption, Jordie Barrett crossed after Mo’unga and Goodhue combined to create an overlap against a flat-footed Wallabies defence.

The match was effectively over three minutes later when Clarke — with a mix of raw power and savvy footwork — smashed through five would-be tacklers to create the space for number eight Ardie Savea to bust past the remnants of the Wallabies’ broken defence.

With the All Blacks leading 20-7, the Wallabies had appeared to grab one try back when hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa crawled over the line from a rolling maul deep inside opposition territory.

But following the intervention of the TMO, Paenga-Amosa was judged to have promoted the ball illegally across the line and the All Blacks were awarded a penalty.

All Blacks skipper Same Cane scored the fourth and final try in the 53rd minute, with Mo’unga adding the conversion to close out the scoring for the afternoon.

AAP/ABC



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New Zealand’s Ardern wins 2nd term in election landslide



AUCKLAND, New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in office Saturday in an election landslide of historic proportions.

With most votes counted, Ardern’s liberal Labour Party was winning 49% of the vote compared to 27% for its main challenger, the conservative National Party.

Labour was on target to win an outright majority of the seats in Parliament, something that hasn’t happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically, parties must form alliances to govern, but this time Ardern and Labour can go it alone.

In a victory speech in front of hundreds of cheering supporters in Auckland, Ardern said her party had gotten more support from New Zealanders that at any time in at least 50 years.

“This has not been an ordinary election, and it’s not an ordinary time,” she said. “It’s been full of uncertainty and anxiety, and we set out to be an antidote to that.”

Ardern promised not to take her new supporters for granted and to govern for all New Zealanders.

“We are living in an increasingly polarized world, a place where, more and more, people have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view,” she said. “I think in this election, New Zealanders have shown that this is not who we are.”

A record number of voters cast early ballots in the two weeks leading up to the election.

On the campaign trail, Ardern was greeted like a rock star by people who crammed into malls and spilled onto streets to cheer her on and get selfies with her.

Her popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to stamp out the coronavirus. There is currently no community spread of the virus in the nation of 5 million and people are no longer required to wear masks or social distance.

Ardern, 40, won the top job after the 2017 election when Labour formed an alliance with two other parties. The following year, she became only the second world leader to give birth while in office.

She became a role model for working mothers around the world, many of whom saw her as a counterpoint to President Donald Trump. And she was praised for her handling of last year’s attack on two Christchurch mosques, when a white supremacist gunned down 51 Muslim worshippers.

She moved quickly to pass new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons.

In late March this year, when only about 100 people had tested positive for COVID-19, Ardern and her health officials put New Zealand into a strict lockdown with a motto of “Go hard and go early.” She shut the borders and outlined an ambitious goal of eliminating the virus entirely rather than just trying to control its spread.

With New Zealand having the advantage of being an isolated island nation, the strategy worked. The country eliminated community transmission for 102 days before a new cluster was discovered in August in Auckland. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away. The only new cases found recently have been among returning travelers, who are in quarantine.

The Auckland outbreak also prompted Ardern to postpone the election by a month and helped increase the early voter turnout.

The National Party’s leader, Judith Collins, is a former lawyer. She served as a minister when National was in power and prides herself on a blunt, no-nonsense approach, a contrast to Ardern’s empathetic style. Collins, 61, was promising sweeping tax cuts in response to the economic downturn caused by the virus.

In a speech to her supporters in Auckland, Collins said she’d called Ardern to congratulate her.

“It is an outstanding result for the Labour Party,” Collins said. “It has been a tough campaign.”

Collins promised that the party would be back to fight another day.

The election also saw Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his small New Zealand First party voted out. The libertarian ACT Party increased its support to 8% and the Green Party won 7.5% of the votes.

Labour Minister David Parker said it was a landslide win for his party. “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.

In the election, voters also had a say on two contentious social issues — whether to legalize marijuana and euthanasia. Polls taken before the election indicated the euthanasia referendum was likely to pass while the outcome of the marijuana vote remained uncertain. The results of both referendums will be announced Oct. 30.



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New Zealand’s Ardern to form government within three weeks after historic election win



FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses her supporters at a Labour Party event in Wellington, New Zealand, October 11, 2020. REUTERS/Praveen Menon

October 18, 2020

By Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – After a thumping election win, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that she would form a government within three weeks but declined to say whether she would rule alone or form a coalition.

Ardern on Saturday delivered the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century. Her new majority in parliament will allow her to form the first single-party government since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

“Whilst there will be another three weeks before we have that final result, my expectation is that we will work on the government formation within that frame,” Ardern told a news conference.

Labour won 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament.

For the last three years, Ardern was in a coalition with the Green Party and the nationalist New Zealand First party. Although she no longer needs support, coalitions are the norm in New Zealand as parties look to build consensus.

“I have been a consensus builder but I also need to work with the mandate that Labour has been given as well,” Ardern said.

“I have said to the Greens that I would talk to them next week,” she said. “I don’t want to draw any conclusion at this point.”

The Greens returned with a bigger mandate of 7.6% of the vote, but NZ First, led by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, did not gather enough support to return to parliament.

The Maori Party, representing the indigenous community which is about 15% of the population, made a comeback to parliament.

The resounding victory is a yes vote for Ardern’s progressive, democratic governance and for her leadership in crushing COVID-19 in the country, as well as her handling of a massacre of 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques and a fatal volcano eruption.

Ardern, 40, burnished her reputation this year with her “go hard, go early” approach to COVID-19, which had all but eliminated the coronavirus in the country, until a new case was reported on Sunday.

New Zealand has had just 25 deaths and around 1,500 infections. In the new case, health officials said the infected person was identified early and risk of transmission was contained.

Ardern retains a solid international following with her promotion of issues including woman’s rights, social justice, and multilateralism.

Still, there has been criticism of her economic policies, and a looming summer season with no international tourists will be a major test.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Writing by Praveen Menon in Wellington and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Daniel Wallis and William Mallard)





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New Zealand’s All Blacks to avoid Christmas in quarantine after change to Rugby Championship draw


The All Blacks will not spend Christmas in hotel quarantine after Rugby Australia (RA) and SANZAAR revised the Rugby Championship draw and brought forward the final Australia-New Zealand clash.

The Wallabies and All Blacks were due to meet in the last match of the tournament on December 12.

Under current New Zealand regulations, that would have meant the All Blacks would have to complete two weeks in quarantine that would take in Christmas.

There was talk of a potential boycott by New Zealand players if a solution was not found.

The teams will now square off in the Rugby Championship opener, which doubles as the third Bledisloe Cup Test, on October 31 at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.

The match between Argentina and South Africa, part of a double-header on December 12, has been relocated from the Olympic stadium to Newcastle to close out the seven-week tournament.

The remainder of the draw is otherwise unchanged, with the Wallabies and All Blacks meeting for a fourth time as part of a double-header in Brisbane on November 7.

South Africa’s participation remains to be confirmed, with its government still to approve international travel for the world champions.

The Wallabies and All Blacks will now meet in the Rugby Championship opener.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos said the opening of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand had allowed organisers to make the changes.

He hinted that New Zealand Rugby (NZR) had been forced to foot some of the bill for the rescheduling.

“The opening of the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand from New Zealand and an agreement by the parties on revised commercial outcomes has enabled the joint venture to consider alternative solutions in addressing our two key objectives of commercial viability and player welfare,” Marinos said.

“This year has been a year of continued adjustment where the SANZAAR partners have had to compromise on a number of levels.”

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson welcomed the decision.

“It is great news that we now have certainty on the draw and we’re really excited about the fantastic rugby to come,” Robinson said.

The Christmas quarantine stoush had kept tensions high between the trans-Tasman neighbours, with NZR claiming it never agreed to a December 12 finish.

NZR was already unhappy that Australia had snatched hosting rights away due to more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.

It got to the point that RA chairman Hamish McLennan said the relationship between the countries was at its “lowest ebb”.

The teams meet in the opening Bledisloe Cup in Wellington on Sunday, with an Auckland Test a week later.

AAP



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Jacindarella – A fairy-tale election result beckons for New Zealand’s prime minister | Asia




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‘We have to think about our kids’: Jacinda Ardern urges more action on climate change during New Zealand’s election debate



Jacinda Ardern has called for more action on climate change during the first televised debate before the New Zealand election on 17 October.

Facing off against National leader Judith Collins, Ms Ardern was asked for an example of what her daughter, Neve Te Aroha, will be grateful for in the coming decades.

“I’d say one of the biggest challenges we will face as a country is the fact that climate change is upon us, and we have to prepare our country for that,” she said. “One of the projects we’re investing in, looking into pumped hydro, will mean New Zealand will be able to become 100 per cent renewably-charged by our electricity network. What a difference that will make.”

Ms Ardern said people have to think about how climate change will impact future generations.

“We have to be realistic about the challenges we face. We have to be both realistic and hopeful. We have to think about what it is going to be like for our kids. Climate change is upon us. We have to grasp this opportunity, use it to create jobs, but also invest in the problems we already had. Inequality – let’s put food in schools. Housing – let’s build more public housing. That’s the plan.”

Ms Collins criticised the Labour leader’s words as “nonsense”.

During the debate, Ms Ardern and Ms Collins faced off over a range of other issues including tax cuts, borders, inequality and farmers.

The centre-right National party is promising a temporary tax cut worth around $AU2770 to average full-time wage earners.

Ms Ardern, promising a mild tax raise to the top two per cent of Kiwi income earners, said she “shouldn’t get a tax cut right now”.

“Now is not the time to have huge uncertainty around tax policy,” she said.

Ms Ardern closed the debate with her central pledge for stability during the pandemic.

“It’s been a really tough time for New Zealand. We have had a terrorist attack, a natural disaster and a global pandemic,” she said.

“We have been able to clear those hurdles and face huge challenges because of who we are.

“We have a plan and it’s already making a difference.”

Ms Collins, who has led the National party for just over two months, claimed victory at the debate’s end.

“I certainly didn’t feel like I was losing,” she said.

A TVNZ poll put Labour on 48 per cent and National on 31 per cent, which if replicated on election day, would allow Ms Ardern to be the first modern-day leader to govern without the support of minority parties.

Additional reporting by AAP.



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New Zealand’s four-day work week, and other economics experiments inspired by COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic, for better and mostly for worse, could turn out to be the greatest psychology, sociology, environmental, and public health experiment the world has ever known.

Above all, it is an economic experiment. The sudden stop is testing every econ department theory about global supply chains, fiscal and monetary policy, public confidence, and unemployment. Let’s not let the opportunity go to waste.

Lionized Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday recommended that New Zealand employers adopt a four-day work week. The long weekends would kickstart domestic tourism, reviving one of the most important sectors of the New Zealand economy.

Great idea! Try it! Let’s see what happens!

The pandemic has prompted a vast array of policy experiments to protect jobs and incomes. The US has sent stimulus checks and subsidized small businesses.

A lot of European countries are using government funds to pay furloughed workers. The US has increased unemployment pay to levels unimaginable before the crisis, and there are even conservative Republicans contemplating UBI-like income guarantees for workers.

Almost every industry that can support working from home has switched to a working-from-home model, and some have already said they will make it permanent.

Work-sharing, in which employees cut hours, stay employed, and receive partial unemployment, was almost never practiced in the US before COVID-19, but now it’s exploding in the 27 states that permit it. The city of Amsterdam is proposing to recover from pandemic by trying out a new, ecologically minded theory called “doughnut economics.”

In short, the world is conducting a whole bunch of economic experiments all at once, in an effort to avert a lasting depression. It’s incredibly exciting.

Our job as citizens and our politicians’ job as leaders is to learn from these experiments. As soon as the immediate crisis lifts, we’ll be tempted to retreat back to our ideological hidey-holes: lower taxes, raise taxes, no deficit, don’t reward laziness, etc. Let’s fight that urge.

Necessity has forced us to try policies we would have railed about three months ago. If they work–and let’s hope some of them do–let’s have the humility and honesty to admit it, and make them permanent.


A version of this post first appeared in “Insider Today,” a daily email written by Henry Blodget and David Plotz. To receive it in your inbox, please

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Trump slams New Zealand‘s ’big surge’ in COVID-19 cases


US President Donald Trump says he doesn’t want to see a “big surge” of COVID-19 cases like “what’s going on in New Zealand” where nine new infections were recorded on Monday.

The United States recorded 41,893 new coronavirus cases and 654 new deaths on August 17 compared to the previous day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US has also recorded more cases of coronavirus than the entire population of New Zealand since the pandemic began.

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media_cameraUS President Donald Trump says he doesn’t want to see a big surge of coronavirus cases such as in New Zealand where 58 cases have been linked to the first community outbreak in months. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

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Mr Trump made the remarks while speaking to a throng of supporters at a rally in Mankato, Minnesota.

He claimed his presidential election opponent Joe Biden “wants to lock all Americans in their basement for months on end”.

“By contrast my administration is following data-driven and science-based approaches that apply to common sense mitigation, aggressively sheltering those at greatest risk, our seniors, we have to shelter them, and deliver effective medical treatments to save thousands and thousands of lives,” he said.

“And when you look at the rest of the world, you know they were trying to say, ‘Oh, we weren’t doing that.’

“The places that they were using to hold up, they’re having a big surge, and I don’t want that, I don’t want that.

“But they were holding up names of countries and now they’re saying ‘whoops’.

“In fact even New Zealand, do you see what’s going on in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front page, they beat it, because they wanted to show me something.

“The problem is, big surge in New Zealand so you know, it’s terrible, we don’t want that.

“But this is an invisible enemy that should have never been let to come to this country, to Europe or the rest of the world by China. Just remember it, just remember it.”

The were 13 new cases announced in New Zealand on Tuesday – hours after Mr Trump’s comments.

Earlier this year, the country initiated a hard lockdown under level-four restrictions for a month and the World Health Organisation hailed it as an example to others for having “successfully eliminated community transmission”.

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NZ PM Jacinda Ardern last week extended current COVID-19 restrictions until August 26. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
media_cameraNZ PM Jacinda Ardern last week extended current COVID-19 restrictions until August 26. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

RELATED: Jacinda Ardern delays NZ election amid virus outbreak

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported there are 90 active cases in New Zealand, 69 of which are from the recent community outbreak and 20 are imported cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.

The Auckland cluster was first reported by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last Tuesday, who reinstated restrictions after the country went 102 days with no known local transmission.

She has since extended them until August 26 with a review to take place later this week.

RELATED: Why the NZ coronavirus outbreak should concern Australia

A nurse with a COVID-19 test in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
media_cameraA nurse with a COVID-19 test in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Twelve of the 13 new cases reported on Tuesday are linked to previous cases in the cluster, and the outstanding case is under investigation, with 98 people including the 44 who have tested positive and their household contacts moved into a quarantine facility in Auckland.

There are six people receiving hospital care in New Zealand for COVID-19.

New Zealand, with an estimated population of about 5.03 million people, has reported 1293 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

The United States, with a population of more than 330 million people, has recorded more than 5.3 million cases of coronavirus.

Originally published as ‘Big surge’: Trump’s NZ virus sledge





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