The New Zealand Prime Minister is on his option to victory: ballot


© Reuters. New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern takes part in a debate in Auckland

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stands ready to stay in power in next month's elections, a widespread poll on Sunday found, despite a recent COVID-19 outbreak slightly undermining her support.

A Newshub-Reid poll published on Sunday found that support for the von Ardern Labor Party was 50.1%. But that's below the record 60.9% seen earlier this year when New Zealand was lauded as a world leader in the fight against COVID-19.

Support for the main opposition party was 29.6%, up 4.5 percentage points.

If the poll results are available, Ardern would rule without relying on coalition partners.

New Zealand was COVID-free for 102 days until a second wave hit Auckland last month.

Ardern became the country's youngest leader in more than 150 years in 2017 after the Kingmaker Nationalist New Zealand First Party agreed to work with its Labor Party to form a government that ended the National Party's decade of power.

40-year-old Ardern is also of great importance around the world because of her response to last year's attack by a white supremacist on two mosques, a deadly volcanic eruption, and her success in the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Steven Gregory