New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, fresh off her landslide reelection victory, warned on Sunday that rigid political polarization could be “damaging for democracy.”
Ardern, asked what the takeaway for Americans should be from her victory, said people throughout the world should work to move beyond partisan infighting.
“That can be damaging for democracy, regardless of the side of the House that you sit on,” Ardern said, according to The Associated Press.
The election results will give Ardern’s Labour Party its first outright majority in decades, removing the usual need for an interparty governing. Ardern’s previous term as prime minister saw the country weather multiple crises, including the coronavirus pandemic and the 2019 killing of 51 Muslims by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch. She was first elected in 2017.
The prime minister said on Sunday that she plans to form a new government in the next three weeks with an eye toward responding to the virus. New Zealand’s handling of the virus has been hailed internationally as a success story, with a total of under 2,000 cases and 25 deaths.
“We’re cracking on very quickly with the work we need to do as a new team,” Ardern said.
New Zealand this weekend reported its first case of community transmission of the virus in three weeks, which it linked to a man who works at foreign ships at the country’s ports. Officials believe the man was identified quickly enough that they were able to contain wider spread, the AP noted.
Ardern also said British, Danish, Spanish and Canadian leaders had already congratulated her but said it was far too early to consider running again in the next election.
“I’ve just run in 2020. I haven’t yet taken a weekend,” she said, according to the AP. “I’m enjoying this moment.”