Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford has revealed the re-elected New Zealand Prime Minister was ‘calm’ and ready to work after learning she had claimed victory.
The 40-year-old won a second term in office on Saturday in an election landslide of historic proportions.
Mr Gayford, who was at home with Ardern and their baby daughter Neve in Auckland, said his fiancée was ‘straight into work mode’ as soon as she realised she had won.
Embrace: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, right, is congratulated by her partner Clarke Gayford following her victory speech to Labour Party members
Clarke Gayford (pictured) revealed Jacinda Ardern was ‘calm’ when she learnt she had won on Saturday night
‘Well last time was a cut and dry decision so this time around when the results started coming in we were like ”surely they wont hold” but they held up,’ the 43-year-old told the media on Saturday night.
‘And so from there [Jacinda] was just straight into work mode thinking about what she has to do and how we get through the rest of the night.’
Asked if there was a fist pump or jump in the air, Mr Gayford said Ms Ardern was ‘calm’.
‘None of that sorry. It sounds boring – maybe I should make something up,’ he joked.
‘Like anyone else your watching the percentages and thinking is this just the advanced votes? Are they from a particular persuasion of people and will they come swinging back the other way, so you just sit there waiting.’
Though he did add that the couple’s two-year-old daughter Neve was on their minds as they watched the election coverage.
‘That was my biggest concern in the house tonight was waking her up. There was a lot of shushing going on’.
Family: Ms Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford pose with their daughter Neve Gayford in Waitangi in February
In terms of Ms Ardern’s campaign and victory, Mr Gayford said he was elated with the result.
‘I am enormously proud of the whole team. [They’ve] just been so great from Jacinda down, the whole mechanics of the Labor party just really going for it these last few weeks – and now to get a result like that is great’.
With most votes counted, Ardern’s liberal Labour Party was winning 49 per cent of the vote compared to 27 per cent for its main challenger, the conservative National Party.
Labour was on target to win an outright majority of the seats in Parliament, something that hasn´t happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically, parties must form alliances to govern, but this time Ardern and Labour can go it alone.
In a victory speech in front of hundreds of cheering supporters in Auckland, Ardern said her party had gotten more support from New Zealanders than at any time in at least 50 years.
Celebrations: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern enjoyed her victory with partner Clarke Gayford. The pair are pictured on stage
‘This has not been an ordinary election, and it’s not an ordinary time,’ she said. ‘It’s been full of uncertainty and anxiety, and we set out to be an antidote to that.’
Ardern promised not to take her new supporters for granted and to govern for all New Zealanders.
During her three-year term, the 40-year-old led New Zealand through grief after its worst mass shooting and a deadly volcanic eruption, as well as a global pandemic.
Her poll numbers shot through the roof in the aftermath of New Zealand eliminating COVID-19 from the community and stayed there.
In late March this year, when only about 100 people had tested positive for COVID-19, Ardern and her health officials put New Zealand into a strict lockdown with a motto of ‘Go hard and go early.’
Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford delivers home cooked venison to neighbours in Auckland on election night
Voters have rewarded Ms Ardern, 40, for her successful handling of Covid-19. Pictured: Her partner Clarke Gayford hands out food to neighbours on election night
She shut the borders and outlined an ambitious goal of eliminating the virus entirely rather than just trying to control its spread.
With New Zealand having the advantage of being an isolated island nation, the strategy worked.
The country eliminated community transmission for 102 days before a new cluster was discovered in August in Auckland. Ardern swiftly imposed a second lockdown in Auckland and the new outbreak faded away.
The only new cases found recently have been among returning travelers, who are in quarantine.
The Auckland outbreak also prompted Ardern to postpone the election by a month and helped increase the early voter turnout.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured on Saturday) thanked her supporters at a community hall in Auckland as millions of kiwis headed to the polls
The National Party´s leader, Judith Collins, is a former lawyer.
She served as a minister when National was in power and prides herself on a blunt, no-nonsense approach, a contrast to Ardern´s empathetic style.
Collins, 61, was promising sweeping tax cuts in response to the economic downturn caused by the virus.
In a speech to her supporters in Auckland, Collins said she’d called Ardern to congratulate her.
‘It is an outstanding result for the Labour Party,’ Collins said. ‘It has been a tough campaign.’
Collins promised that the party would be back to fight another day.
Labour party supporters cheer as they wait for Jacinda Ardern to arrive at Auckland Town Hall to celebrate election victory