Great Britain

'Let's keep moving': Ardern launches New Zealand Labour's election slogan

Jacinda Ardern has delivered a rousing speech to the Labour party faithful at its annual conference ahead of September’s election.

The prime minister addressed her annual party congress at Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington on Sunday, kick-starting the party’s campaign and revealing Labour’s slogan: “Let’s keep moving”.

Polls have Ardern’s government on track to be comfortably returned on 19 September, possibly as Labour’s first majority government since a new electoral system in 1996 came into force.

The 39-year-old’s personal popularity has soared after her government’s response to Covid-19, which has saw the country pursue a policy of elimination.

As Labour put Ardern front and centre, the prime minister herself hoped Kiwis woudl reward her government for its response to multiple tragedies during its three-year term.

“I can’t think of a time in our recent history when we have been collectively challenged by such a cruel combination of events,” Ardern said.

“A terrorist attack. A volcanic eruption. A global pandemic and now its ensuing financial crisis.

“Our national character has been repeatedly put to the test and yet we have come back with an almost stronger sense of ourselves and of what matters most to us.”

Jacinda Ardern greets a supporter after her speech congratulating the nation on its response to multiple tragedies.
Jacinda Ardern greets a supporter after her speech congratulating the nation on its response to multiple tragedies. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Three new cases of Covid-19 were reported in New Zealand on Sunday, all involving people who have returned from abroad and who are staying in quarantine facilities. In total, 1,183 cases have been detected in the country, including 21 active cases.

The country moved to alert level one on 8 June, having eliminated community transmission of the virus. However returning travellers have since tested positive to Covid-19.

Acknowledging the complex challenge of the pandemic, Ardern said there “wasn’t a playbook for Covid”.

“There wasn’t a playbook for the recovery. And speaking frankly, there hasn’t been one for much of what has happened this term,” she said.

“But as a team of five million we have achieved so much anyway. We have shown grit and determination. We have shown unity,” she said.

There are just nine scheduled parliamentary sitting days until the poll, with advance voting starting in two months.

Labour, and its coalition partners New Zealand First and the Greens, will also spend up big.

Ardern has pledged to avoid austerity during the onset of recession, and the government’s budget has a $NZ20bn ($US13bn) Covid-19 response fund to dish out.

On Sunday, she made just two new announcements.

A $NZ162m for projects designed to return dirty waterways to health, and the extension of a small business loan scheme which has already paid out $NZ1.5 bn.

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