Election results 2020 / Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern says ‘mandate exists for Labour’; govt to form in 3 weeks

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has barely had time to savour her historic election victory – she’s now dealing with a new community case of Covid.

Ardern is addressing media in Auckland this afternoon.

After Labour’s tremendous election victory, Ardern said today the work would begin.

“My expectation is that we will form government iwhtin the next two to three weeks,” she said.

“We clearly have a mandate on behalf of New Zealand to crack on with Government formation.”

Labour’s caucus will meet tomorrow.

Ardern said she wanted to “talk to the Greens” but “the mandate does exist for Labour”.

She said there was a range of options for agreements with the Greens.

She didn’t want to draw any conclusions at this point but said she’d worked to form consensus.

Ardern was confident there was enough talent to fill ministerial portfolios.

Ardern said she wanted to balance experience with the new talent.

“It’s fair to say we have a very talented team of people coming into this term in government.”

When asked whether she thought New Zealand was now a progressive country: “I’d like to think New Zealand has always been a relatively progressive government.”

She said while she wanted consensus, she also wanted “straight-forward arrangements” for this term.

Ardern said she wasn’t in shock with the result because they’d worked really hard for a strong mandate.

“In terms of the numbers … it did exceed my expectations. I think that is fair to say.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health this afternoon confirmed an Auckland-based ports worker has tested positive.

The Minister of Health, Chris Hipkins, was advised at 6pm on Saturday – an hour before polls closed in New Zealand’s general election.

The man is in quarantine and four household contacts are in isolation.

Labour won 49.1 per cent of the party vote, enough for 64 seats in Parliament, which is the first time under MMP that a party has won a parliamentary majority.

National won 26.8 per cent of the vote, its worst result ever, except for in 2002.

Last night, Ardern said she would implement every aspect of Labour’s election manifesto, but would not be drawn on whether she would seek a governing arrangement with the Green Party, which won 10 seats in Parliament.

“I do just want to wait until we see those final results come through and take a bit of time to take stock,” she said last night.

Asked if Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis would be deputy PM, she said he’d remain deputy leader “and that is usually the order of things”.

She would not say how she voted in the cannabis referendum.

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