New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern delays election due to coronavirus outbreak
Ardern’s move followed calls from leaders of other parties, including Winston Peters, deputy leader of her ruling coalition, to postpone the vote.
She denied, however, that political pressure played a role in her decision.
“Even if I had not picked up the phone and contacted anyone, I believe this is still the outcome I would have arrived at,” she told reporters, stressing that she had “absolutely no intention” of delaying the vote, rescheduled for Oct. 17, a second time.
Judith Collins, leader of the main opposition National party and Ardern’s rival for the top job, welcomed the move, saying in a press statement that it “was always National’s view that to have a fair, democratic election we needed to deal with this second wave of covid-19 so politicians from all parties had a reasonable chance to present their policies, and the public felt comfortable engaging with the campaign without putting their health at risk.”