NZ Election 2020: Sydney Morning Herald backs Jacinda Ardern for another term as Prime Minister

It comes ahead of Saturday's election.
It comes ahead of Saturday's election. Photo credit: Getty.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), one of Australia's most-read newspapers, is backing Jacinda Ardern for another term as New Zealand's Prime Minister.

Saturday marks election day for Aotearoa, with Labour's Ardern looking for a second term. 

Public polling suggests it's likely, with the big question more being whether Labour can govern alone or if it requires the help of the Greens. 

National's Judith Collins wants to take down Ardern with the assistance of the Act Party, while New Zealand First's Winston Peters wants to avoid political oblivion by getting past the 5 percent threshold. 

The SMH is backing Ardern, with an editorial or "The Herald's View" saying her leadership "makes her deserving of another term".

The piece said the Ardern Government's largely successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic, in contrast to disastrous results in other countries, gives the Labour leader "a unique advantage". 

"Such success in containing the virus has Ms Ardern not only ahead of her conservative rival Judith Collins but puts her in with a chance of gaining enough votes to govern in her own right," the SMH says.

It notes that such success, however, has "not rubbed off" on New Zealand First.

"The only party looking to upset Ms Ardern's chances of taking full control are the Greens, although she has agreed to work closely with them no matter what the outcome."

The piece acknowledges criticism of Ardern's Government for struggling to get a handle on the high cost of housing and says she has faced pushback for "a lack of clear economic measures to pull the nation out of its COVID-induced slump". 

New Zealand's economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, with our debt-to-GDP ratio set to skyrocket over the coming years. Aotearoa is currently in a recession, with another predicted for next year.

But the Government's wage subsidy has kept many businesses afloat and Kiwis employed. 

Among its measures to keep the wheels turning in the future is making apprenticeships free to incentivise businesses to take on new people and providing funding to key tourism assets hurting due to the border closures.

The SMH mentions that Kiwis are also voting in two referendums - one on cannabis legalisation and control and one on euthanasia. 

"While Ms Ardern admitted to smoking cannabis 'a long time ago', she refuses to say whether she supports the measure. With the changes still needing parliament's approval, Ms Ardern's unwillingness to take a stand on an issue that has divided the country has left her looking indecisive.

"But that has not been enough to undermine her credibility. Her pandemic response and praise for her leadership during the aftermath of the horrific mosque shooting in Christchurch, in which 51 people died, and the volcanic eruption on White Island, in which 21 people died, turned her into a highly respected international figure."

The newspaper concludes its editorial by speaking of Ardern's compassion.

"During her tenure she has struggled to live up to expectations on some bread and butter issues but when faced with some of the nation's most harrowing moments, she has shown remarkable level of compassion and competence.

"She well deserves to lead New Zealand for another term in office, whether it be in coalition with another party or in her own right."