September 22, 2020, 06.15 PM

WELLINGTON, KOMPAS.com - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a strong lead heading into the New Zealand general election set to take place next month.

Though a new opinion poll puts her on course to win a second term in office, the New Zealand Prime Minister said she’s taking nothing for granted.

The 1 News Colmar Brunton Poll put support for Ardern's liberal Labour Party at 48 percent while support for the conservative National Party, led by opposition leader Judith Collins, was at 31 percent.

Read also: New Zealand’s Iain Lees-Galloway Ousted by PM Following Affair with Staffer

Support for Ardern as preferred prime minister was at 54 percent compared to 18 percent for Collins.

Under New Zealand’s proportional voting system, larger parties typically form coalitions with smaller parties to govern.

Ardern's popularity has surged since the coronavirus became the defining issue for her government six months ago.

Her approach of trying to eliminate the virus has been widely viewed as successful.

Read also: Uptick in New Zealand Covid-19 Cases amid Fresh Coronavirus Outbreaks

Collins is promising more robust border controls to ensure the virus is kept out and sweeping tax cuts to help reboot the economy.

The two leaders met for the first televised debate of the election campaign Tuesday and were asked about the poll.

“We will keep working every day of this campaign and you will see no complacency from us and no assumptions,” Ardern said.

Collins said the campaign had been hampered by a virus outbreak that temporarily put the city of Auckland back into lockdown, but that her party was in a good position going into the home stretch.

“I'm a fighter," Collins said. “I never give up, always keep going. And I'm utterly positive for our country, and I've got a vision to sell.”

Neither leader made a major stumble in the debate as they took each other on over education, housing, healthcare and taxes ahead of the October 17 general election. 

(Writer: Nick Perry) 

Source: https://apnews.com/6a5c19a420f5e4dcab605f5c79e71284 

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