Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Labour Party leader and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claims victory during the Labor Party Election Night Function at Auckland Town Hall in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday. Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters Sunday that she expects to form a government "within the next two to three weeks" following her Labour Party's historic election win.

Driving the news: Labour is projected to win 49.1% of the vote, ensuring 64 of 120 available parliamentary seats. Ardern said in her victory speech Saturday, "New Zealand has shown the greatest support in at least 50 years."

"We will govern as we campaigned: positively with optimism about our future. Now more than ever is the time to keep going, to keep working, to grab hold of the opportunities that lay in front of us. Let's keep moving."
— Excerpt from Ardern's victory speech
  • Ardern said she would talk with the Green Party to discuss possibly continuing a coalition partnership in government, but added: "We clearly have a mandate on behalf of New Zealand to crack on with government formation."

Why it matters: A party needs to win 61 parliamentary seats to form a government alone. No party has won an outright majority in New Zealand since the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation voting system was introduced in 1996.

For the record: The election was delayed by four weeks to Oct. 17 because of a second outbreak in Auckland.

Flashback: New Zealand imposed one of the world's toughest lockdowns when the pandemic reached the country in March.

  • The island nation went 102 days with no detected cases in the community before COVID-19 re-emerged in Auckland in August.
  • The country's most populous city went into a lockdown that was less severe than the first while lesser restrictions returned to the rest of the country. There are now no restrictions on the population of 5 million people.

Of note: Officials stamped out the second outbreak and NZ hadn't reported a new coronavirus case in the community since Sept. 25. But Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield announced a new one Sunday.

  • Bloomfield said the case was "most likely a border-related" one as the man recently worked on ships docked at the ports of Auckland and Taranaki. He said it "shows our systems ... are working."
  • "Because he was tested the day he developed symptoms, we were able to move quickly," he added. "This case has been caught early and the risk of onward transmission is contained."
  • Ardern ruled out reintroducing restrictions.

The big picture: Under MMP, voters cast two ballots in the election— one to decide their local representative and another for a political party.

  • New Zealanders also voted on the End of Life Choice assisted dying bill and whether to legalize cannabis. The results of these referendums are due in two weeks' time.
  • Final election results will be announced on Nov. 6 after the votes of parties that didn't meet the 5% threshold to enter parliament and special ballots, such as those cast from abroad, are counted, the Electoral Commission said in an email to Axios.

By the numbers: Nearly 2 million people voted early — the most on record.

Go deeper: Prime minister pledges 100% renewable energy generation in New Zealand by 2030

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 26, 2020 - World

Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns

People socially distance at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Australia, will ease and state capital Melbourne's lockdown will end after officials recorded Monday no new cases for the first time in 139 days, state Premier Dan Andrews announced.

Why it matters: The state has been the epicenter of Australia's pandemic and Melbourne has endured one of the world's longest lockdowns. The measure will have been in place for 112 days when it lifts late Tuesday.

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 9 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 58.6 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 9 days left until Election Day, according to an AP tally.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.