New Zealand’s Ardern sworn in for second term

WELLINGTON (AFP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was sworn in for a second term yesterday, as final election results showed her landslide victory was even bigger than previously thought.

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.

“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.”

Ardern, 40, leveraged her success battling Covid-19 into an unprecedented majority at the October 17 election, leading her centre-left Labour Party to its biggest win since World War II.

Final results released yesterday showed Ardern won 50 per cent of the vote, up from 49 on election night, giving her 65 seats in the 120-strong Parliament, rather than 64.

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.