New Zealand election delayed due to a spike in coronavirus cases

New Zealand election delayed due to a spike in coronavirus cases

After spending the weekend consulting party leaders and the Electoral Commission, PM Jacinda Ardern chose 17 October, the earliest delayed date available to her.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that voting will take place on October 17 instead of September 19. Any decision to review the election date must be as free from partisan political interests as possible.

The limits of the current Covid-19 cluster in Auckland and Tokoroa are yet to be ascertained, but the window of opportunity provided by a four-week delay to the election gives time to either stamp out the current flurry of cases, or if the signs are unpromising, for the Electoral Commission to make provision for alternative voting methods.

The major opposition Nationwide Party also wanted a delay, just after they were being pressured to cancel marketing campaign events because of to constraints on motion and crowds because of to the pandemic.

Ardern eliminated any chance of further delay in the polls as her Labour Party maintains a strong lead in opinion polls.

Ms Ardern's decision to move the election by four weeks lances that possibility, but also opens her up to the claim that Mr Peters forced her hand.

In March, New Zealand entered one of the world's strictest lockdowns, after which recorded coronavirus cases dropped off and eventually stopped for more than three months, allowing residents to return to nearly normal activity while much of the world was struggling to contain the virus.

The country reported 12 locally transmitted cases in Auckland on Friday, dubbed the "Auckland August cluster", ending a run of more than 100 days without any locally transmitted infections.

Scientists identified the "family" of its latest COVID-19 outbreak and revealed that its name is "B.1.1.1.", according to News.com.au.

In Europe, where strict lockdowns appeared to bring the virus largely under control earlier this year, several countries have reported a surge in new infections.

"In this hard time, the health and wellbeing of our team of five million must be our only focus", Mr Peters said in a video shared to Twitter.

New Zealand on Monday postponed its election to focus on fighting a second wave of the coronavirus as Europe tightened restrictions to curb fresh outbreaks of the disease. Hong Kong's Legislative Council vote has been postponed by a year, and many U.S. states moved primary contests for this year's presidential election.

'I do need to provide certainty, a sense of fairness and a sense of comfort to voters to ensure them that this will be a safe election'.

Ms Adern first announced September 19 as the date for a general election back in January.

That practically never happens under New Zealand's "mixed member proportional" (MMP) electoral system. She denied, however, that political pressure played a role in her decision.

Ardern was under pressure from political opponents and her coalition partners to shift the original September 19 vote following the shock discovery of COVID-19 in Auckland last week, sending the nation's largest city into lockdown.

The fresh outbreak could disrupt Ms Ardern's easy route to victory that was built on the country's coronavirus success.

The government has said there is no evidence to support that theory, although testing is continuing.

This has prompted a city lockdown and a halt to campaigning.

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