New Zealand postpones election amid coronavirus resurgence

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New Zealand postpones election amid coronavirus resurgence

Auckland: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday postponed the general election by four weeks to October 17 but ruled out delaying it any further, as the country tackles a new outbreak of the coronavirus.

“Ultimately, the 17th of October … provides sufficient time for parties to plan around the range of circumstances we will be campaigning under,” Ardern said in a news conference.

The election had been scheduled for September 19.

Pressure had been mounting on Ardern to postpone the vote amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in its biggest city Auckland, after the country had been free of coronavirus cases for 102 days.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters called on Sunday for a delay to the election.

The main opposition National Party also wanted a delay, after they were forced to cancel campaign events due to restrictions on movement and crowds due to the pandemic. It has accused Ardern of using the crisis to shore up support.