Ardern had the option of delaying the election for up to about two months. The prime minister said she had called the leaders of all the political parties represented in the parliament to get their views before making her decision Monday.
“Ultimately I want to ensure we’ve a well-run election that gives all voters the best chance to receive all the information they need about parties and candidates, and delivers certainty for the future,” Ardern said.
She said she wouldn't consider delaying the election again — no matter what was happening with any virus outbreaks.
“COVID is continuing to disrupt life around the world," Ardern said, noting that other nations including South Korea and Singapore had nevertheless managed to hold elections during the pandemic.
Labour Party favoured to win 2nd term
Ardern also announced that lawmakers would be called back to parliament, which had finished sitting ahead of the election. The parliament will now continue operating through early September.
Conservative opposition leader Judith Collins did not offer much of an opinion on the delay, saying only that her National Party “acknowledge the new date” while also saying there had been testing failures at the border.
But the small opposition ACT party welcomed the delay.
Leader David Seymour said the new outbreak had already forced him to cancel a dozen events, including debates and community meetings
“In order to have a free and fair election, candidates need to be out in the community listening to voters, and that’s not possible while Aucklanders are housebound," he said in a statement.
The delay will cause logistical problems, including rebooking voting venues and ensuring that the thousands of election workers needed for the poll are available on the new date. Ardern said she believed there was enough time to organise everything.
Opinion polling indicates Ardern's liberal Labour Party is favoured to win a second term in office.
The party's popularity has jumped significantly since the pandemic, with Ardern winning international praise for the way she's handled the crisis.