New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday postponed the general election by four weeks to October 17, but ruled out postponing them further, as the country grapples with a new coronavirus outbreak.
“At the end of the day, October 17… gives the parties enough time to plan the circumstances under which we are going to campaign,” Ardern said at a press conference.
The election was scheduled for September 19.
Pressure had mounted on Ardern to postpone the vote amid the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in its largest city of Auckland, after the country was free of coronavirus cases for 102 days.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on Sunday called for a postponement of the elections.
The main national opposition party also wanted a delay, after being forced to call off campaign events due to movement restrictions and crowds due to the pandemic. He accused Ardern of using the crisis to shore up his support.
Ardern said she had informed the Governor General of the new election date and added that she had no plans to change it again.
“We are all in the same boat. We are all campaigning in the same environment, ”said Ardern.
New Zealand law requires the election to take place before November 21.