Jacinda Ardern set for historic landslide victory
Winston Peters, the leader of the small New Zealand First Party, who saw himself promoted to Acting Prime Minister for a time when Jacinda Ardern gave birth, has tonight bowed out of politics.
Mr Peters was fundamental in delivering Labour government and Ms Ardern the top job in 2017.
The populist politician said he decided to side with Labour, rather than National who were then in power and who he had been expected to side with, to “shake up the status quo”.
However, the vote of his party collapsed tonight and is currently at just 2.4 per cent, well below the 5 per cent minimum needed to get MPs.
At a speech at an NZ First event he said the election, held against the backdrop of COVID-19, was “like no one we’ve ever seen”.
“Three years ago we committed to be a constructive partner in government” he told the gathering.
Ms Ardern might not agree with Mr Peters pushing back against several Labour policies. But he was also a convenient person to blame if things went wrong, something a Labour majority government won’t have the luxury of.
After his short speech, Mr Peters simple said: “God bless you and God Bless New Zealand”.