New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was sworn in for her second term on Friday, after final election results proved her initial victory was actually greater than previously thought. Along with her ministers, Ardern took her oath in English and Maori during a ceremony at Wellington’s Government House, reports Al Jazeera.
Following one of the world’s most successful battles against COVID-19, Ardern led her centre-left Labour Party to its biggest win since World War 2 in the nation’s October 17 election. Final election results released on Friday showed Ardern won 50 percent of the vote, up from the initial 49 percent on election night.
“I would say simply that sitting at this table is Aotearoa New Zealand,” Ardern said, according to Al Jazeera, using the Maori term for her country, gesturing to her increasingly diverse team, which already includes many women and Maori.
“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 people of New Zealand also voted in referendums regarding the recreational use of marijuana, and also euthanasia. Final results showed a narrow 50.7 percent majority voted against recreational cannabis use, while almost two-thirds supported legislation allowing terminally-ill people to end their lives if they so choose, although his will be subject to certain safeguards.
Ardern said she had a clear mandate for reform, but that her immediate priorities would be containing the spread of COVID-19, and rebuilding the pandemic-ravaged economy. Her handling of the pandemic has already led to a massive wave of support from New Zealanders. She’s also identified infrastructure projects which include increased state housing and renewable energy, as well as climate change, poverty and inequality as important items on her list of items to address.
“We must make sure we represent all those who elected us, be they in city seats, rural seats, general seats or Maori seats,” Jacinda Ardern told reporters on Friday.
She added that “there are significant challenges for us to overcome together, but I am confident we have the team to do it and it is great to be officially able to now crack on with it.”