Election 2020: The one thing Jacinda Ardern didn't say in her acceptance speech

New Zealand|Politics

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has been rewarded by voters with a landslide win — delivering her power in her own right, and an absolute drubbing to the National Party.

ELECTION LATEST
* It’s a sea of red! Labour surges to victory – and can govern-alone with 97% of vote counted
* Jacinda Ardern hails historic win, promises to govern for “every New Zealander”
* Judith Collins crushed, says she has congratulated Ardern on an “outstanding result”
* National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee among list of high-profile Nat MPs who have lost electorate seats in a night of misery – just 27% of the vote
* NZ First and Winston Peters out of Parliament with just 2.6%
* The Greens’ Chloe Swarbrick wins Auckland Central in one of night’s biggest upsets

Jacinda Ardern gave a gracious victory speech after a landslide victory.

There were lots of thank yous and talk of New Zealanders moving forward together.

But there was something she left out – any mention of the Greens.

It’s the first time since 1996, and the first time under MMP that a political party has had the numbers at this stage to govern alone, without having to form a coalition with a minor party.

Despite this, Labour may still join forces with the Greens this time around.

Jacinda Ardern waves as she arrives at an election night event at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland. Photo / Getty
Jacinda Ardern waves as she arrives at an election night event at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland. Photo / Getty

But Labour’s stonking victory, with a projected 64 seats in the 120 seat parliament, means Ardern as options up her sleeve.

No surprise then that she didn’t talk about the Greens or any kind of coalition in her speech.

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Talking later in the night, Ardern kept her cards close to her chest and said election night was not the night to discuss such matters.

Certainly the Greens would not be in a good negotiating position and would be hard-pressed to demand much.

But Labour might not want to be too smug. Many commentators believe this could be a high water mark for Labour. Come the next election in 2023, they may need a coalition partner to govern.

They may want to keep the Greens on side, even if they don’t strictly need them right now.

Ardern arrived at the Auckland Town Hall to scenes of jubilation and was joined on the stage by her partner Clarke Gayford and fellow Labour MPs.

“Tonight New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years,” she told supporters.

A proud Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford celebrate Labour's storming return to power.
A proud Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford celebrate Labour’s storming return to power.

She acknowledged voters who had switched allegiances from National.

“For those amongst you who may not have supported Labour before… to you I say thank you. We will not take your support for granted.”

She said Labour would be a party which works for “every New Zealander”.

Labour was committed to key infrastructure, 100 per cent renewal electricity, the environment and supporting those at risk.

“Over the next three years there is much work to do. We will build back better from the Covid crisis; better stronger with the answers to the [things] New Zealand already faces.”

Ardern would not say whether or not she still intended to invite the Green Party to be part of the Government, or what role they might have. She said many voters who had never voted for Labour before had done so to give the party the ability to move quickly to address the issues Covid-19 had left it with.

“They have done that because they want us to crack on with it, they want us to move with haste and speed on the recovery. They don’t want too much complexity so I’ll be keeping all that in mind in the work we do going forward.”

Green co-leader Marama Davidson congratulated Ardern for “an extraordinary win” and said the Greens were hoping to be part of a “strong, truly progressive government”.

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