The race to form New Zealand’s next government yesterday took an unexpected turn as a “bombshell” poll showed the opposition Labour Party had overtaken the ruling National Party, threatening its almost decade-long hold on power.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, a political veteran and former minister of finance, faces a highly contested race against Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, whose charisma and rising popularity have prompted domestic media to coin the term “Jacindamania.”
National fell 3 points to 41 percent, its lowest result since 2005, in a poll commissioned by 1 News and published on its Web site only an hour before English and Ardern face off in a debate.
Support for the newly invigorated Labour Party jumped 6 points to 43 percent, after the last-minute leadership change boosted its chances.
“This is a bombshell,” said Bryce Edwards, political analyst at Wellington-based Critical Politics. “It does mean that this campaign has turned on its head. National being in second place is entirely unexpected for the last 10 years.”
Ardern yesterday said she was not taking anything for granted.
“I’m certainly not going to decide that it’s somehow a done deal right now,” she said during the debate.
English took jabs at Ardern’s “confusing” and “vague” policies, while Ardern criticized National for failing to resolve the housing crisis after nine years in government.
Arden said she wanted to “make sure my generation can get into housing,” while English questioned how she would achieve that if she stopped migrants coming in to build homes.
Labour plans to cut immigration by up to 30,000 a year from the current annual record level of 70,000.
Ardern, 37, took the helm of the Labour Party this month, after poor poll results prompted the resignation of Andrew Little, breathing fresh air into an election that until then had been widely considered a slam dunk for National.
National or Labour would still need to strike a deal with smaller parties to form a government.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after