Jacinda Ardern and her govt soar in pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing coro­n­avirus cri­sis

Fiji Sun - - WORLD NEWS - Feed­back: rosi.doviver­ata@fi­jisun.com.fj

Welling­ton: New Zealand’s Prime Min­is­ter, Jacinda Ardern, reached an al­most record­break­ing ap­proval rat­ing while the coun­try was in its strictest lock­down, ac­cord­ing to a new leaked poll.

The poll, which was con­ducted by UMR and leaked to the New Zealand Her­ald, shows that Ardern’s Labour party has reached 55 per cent ap­proval, while the op­po­si­tion Na­tional party has dropped to 29 per cent – its low­est rat­ing in more than a decade. The Greens were on five per cent and New Zealand First – Labour’s Coali­tion part­ners – on six per cent.

Ms Ardern’s per­sonal ap­proval rat­ing was 65 per cent while the op­po­si­tion leader, Si­mon Bridges, sat on seven per cent, ac­cord­ing to the poll. It puts the PM close to her high of 70 per cent ap­proval in UMR polls dur­ing her term in of­fice.

The poll also shows that 78 per cent of New Zealan­ders be­lieve the coun­try is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion – the high­est since 1991. The Her­ald re­ported that the poll was car­ried by UMR, for its cor­po­rate clients, but Labour paid UMR for a monthly up­date on the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

The poll was con­ducted be­tween 21 and 27

April when the coun­try was in the tough­est level of lock­down to com­bat the ef­fects of COVID-19. Level-4 re­stric­tions, which ended on 27 April, saw busi­nesses and schools close, while New Zealan­ders were told to stay home for all but es­sen­tial needs.

UMR said that the po­lit­i­cal num­bers needed to be in­ter­preted “ex­tremely care­fully”. “The con­ven­tional wis­dom is that nat­u­ral dis­as­ters (and wars) are usu­ally good for gov­ern­ments but that those ef­fects can wear off quickly,” it said.

The num­ber of peo­ple say­ing New Zealand is on the right track hasn’t been this high on a UMR poll since 1991.

Si­mon Bridges said Labour “should be fo­cused on get­ting New Zealand back to work, not leak­ing dodgy num­bers”.

Ms Ardern has gained promi­nence in­ter­na­tion­ally for the way the gov­ern­ment swiftly acted to con­tain COVID-19 when cases first started ris­ing in the coun­try. There were three new cases on Fri­day in New Zealand, bring­ing the to­tal to 1479, with 1252 of th­ese hav­ing re­cov­ered.

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