New Zealand delays election by one month, citing COVID-19 concerns

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that the country’s Sept. 19 elections would be pushed back by one month, amid renewed lockdowns in the nation due to the return of the coronavirus.

What are the details?

Reuters reported that “Ardern has been under pressure to put off the polls as political parties said it was impossible to campaign in a way that would ensure a free and fair election.”

“Ultimately, the 17th of October … provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we will be campaigning under,” Arden told reporters. “We are all in the same boat. We are all campaigning in the same environment.”

Ardern had hinted last week that she might postpone the election, just after she shut down the country’s largest city, Auckland, when just four cases emerged in the city of 1.5 million following more than 100 days of no cases being reported in the country at all.

But the outbreak has spread further, leading to Ardern’s decision to continue to work at containing and eradicating the virus again. Ultimately, partial lockdown measures were reintroduced nationwide.

According to the Associated Press:

Officials believe the virus was reintroduced to New Zealand from abroad but haven’t yet determined how. The outbreak in the nation’s largest city has grown to 58 infections, all thought to be connected, giving health officials hope the virus isn’t spreading beyond the cluster.

The prime minister made it clear that she did not plan on delaying the election a second time.

The Daily Wire noted that “unlike the U.S. Constitution, which prescribes the date for elections, New Zealand law allows the prime minister to postpone an election for up to about two months.”

Anything else?

President Donald Trump mentioned New Zealand’s new lockdown woes during a campaign speech on Monday, according to The Guardian.

“The places they were using to hold up now they’re having a big surge,” the president told the audience. “They were holding up names of countries and now they’re saying ‘Whoops!

“Do you see what’s happening in New Zealand?” he continued. “They beat it, they beat it. It was like front-page news because they wanted to show me something.”

He added, “”Big surge in New Zealand, you know it’s terrible, we don’t want that, but this is an invisible enemy that should never have been let to come to Europe and the rest of the world by China.”

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