The New Zealand Labour party has continued its extraordinary surge under the month-old leadership of Jacinda Ardern, with a new poll putting its support at a 10-year high and for the first time ahead of the governing National party in campaigning for September’s general election.
Ardern took control of the party on 1 August with Labour at an all-time low in the polls and has almost single-handedly reignited its chances of forming the next government.
Labour’s projected share of the vote has risen from 26% to 43% since Ardern, 37, became the party’s youngest leader. Labour now stands two points ahead of the National party, led by the prime minister, Bill English. The election takes place on 23 September.
Ardern and English met in a leaders’ debate on Thursday in which English was asked in the opening question: “Bill, why are you losing?”
Ardern, whose charisma and rising popularity prompted domestic media to coin the term “Jacindamania”, told the moderator, Mike Hosking, that she was not taking anything for granted.
“I’m certainly not going to decide that it’s somehow a done deal right now,” she said of Labour’s poll lead.
English and Hosking tussled over the poll and whether the prime minister could reveal another private polling number, which he claimed was better.
The debate between the two leaders was dominated by housing, tax and immigration. English attacked what he called Labour’s “vague and confusing” policies and reiterated his party’s tax cut policies. “People can’t go shopping with your values … every person in New Zealand who does not have children will be worse off under Labour,” he said.
As carried in theguardian on 1.9.17