Jacinda Ardern has won the New Zealand election by a landslide. Votes are still being tallied but Labour has already won over 49% of the vote, which means they have confidently won the election.

“Tonight’s result has been strong and it is clear that Labour will lead the government for the next three years,” Ardern said during her victory speech.

She also encouraged New Zealanders to keep moving forward and that the next three years will be focussed on tackling big challenges ahead such as: COVID-19, creating more jobs, up-skilling the community, tackling poverty and addressing climate change.

“We will govern as we campaigned: positively, with optimism about our future,” Ardern said.

“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.”

For the first time, the majority of of New Zealand voters cast their vote before election – with nearly 2 million casting their vote early. This accounts for almost half of the roughly 3.5 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.

It is also the first time that Kiwis have voted outright for one political party in Parliament, since the country adopted the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) system in 1996.

This means that each person has a party vote and an electoral vote. A party vote decides on the amount of seats that a political party gets. An electorate vote is when you vote for the specific candidate that becomes the MP for your electorate.

The proportional system means that usually no party gets enough votes to govern alone. In most cases, parties will need to form a coalition with another party to form government, or come to an agreement with other parties to pass legislation.

In Australia, we have preferential voting which means that we rank all candidates for both houses of parliament according to our preferences. The end result enables a two-party system to ultimately emerge, and all votes are essentially divided between the Labor and Liberal parties.

New Zealanders also voted in two referenda: to legalise cannabis and to legalise euthanasia.

Well done Jacinda, you smashed it.

Image: Getty Images / Kai Schwoerer