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  Opinion   Edit  16 Oct 2023  AA Edit | Centrist swing in New Zealand

AA Edit | Centrist swing in New Zealand

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 17, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Oct 17, 2023, 12:05 am IST

Jacinda’s strict isolationist rules during the Covid-19 pandemic when New Zealand cut itself off even more from the world

Jacinda Ardern (Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
 Jacinda Ardern (Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Any shift of the political pendulum from the left to the right of centre tends to be viewed with alarm. In New Zealand, situated Down Under with its southernmost city Invercargill about 3,200 km from the South Pole, such a political shift is viewed by the rest of the world as less than tectonic simply because the country seems so far away.

The youngsters of New Zealand may have been steadily abandoning their homeland to seek greener pastures in mainstream countries, but the youth of India have particular interest as the country has been a favourite for higher education. In fact, it is a pronounced turnout of New Zealand’s younger voters that is said to have tilted the balance away from Labour.

While nothing has happened to change the Indian youth’s view of New Zealand as an ideal study destination, the fact is a Conservative government will soon be taking the place of the socialist party Labour whose Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who ruled for most of the time when Labour was ensconced in power before she quit for personal reasons, made her country well-known outside.

Jacinda’s strict isolationist rules during the Covid-19 pandemic when New Zealand cut itself off even more from the world, had made her, who was lauded abroad as a woman PM who even had a baby while in office, very unpopular at home. The latest poll results indicate that while rising inflation that had cut into people’s lives and purses had also contributed to this swing to the right of centre in favour of Christopher Luxon and his National Party.

The libertarian ACT party (11 seats) is supporting the formation of the new government with around 61 combined seats, scotching any chance of the Left-leaning bloc of Labour, Green and Te Pati Maori parties cobbling together a working majority after suffering a “bloodbath” at the polling booths which stranded it on 52 seats.  The incoming Prime Minister has also been offered support by the NZ First party (8 seats), but considered a potentially difficult coalition partner.

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