New Zealand election: Can rookie Labour leader Jacinda Ardern oust conservative Prime Minister Bill English on Saturday?

JACINDA Ardern’s one regret about the New Zealand election campaign is that Kiwis didn’t have time to get to know her better before they vote today.

Ms Ardern’s Labour Party is hoping to ride the “Jacindamania” wave — which has been sweeping New Zealand over the past two months — into government. Opinion polls this week show that Labour is likely to fall short, allowing the conservative National Party Government to capture a fourth, three-year term in office after the general election.

A few months ago, Prime Minister Bill English seemed almost certain to lead National to victory with a promise to continue policies that have delivered a strong economy and low unemployment.

Things changed at the start of August when unpopular Labour leader Andrew Little quit, handing over to 37-year-old Ms Ardern who promised a campaign of “unrelenting positivity’’.

Under Ms Ardern, Labour briefly overtook National in opinion polls but polling this week showed the Government was in front again.

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