New Zealanders voted to legalize euthanasia in a binding referendum, but preliminary results released Friday showed they would likely not legalize recreational marijuana use. The two referendums represented significant potential changes to New Zealand’s social fabric, although the campaigns for each ended up being overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic and a parallel political race, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her liberal Labour Party won a second term in a landslide.
Incumbent Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern won a second term in office Saturday in a historic election landslide, viewed by many as an endorsement of her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Her popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to stamp out the coronavirus. There is currently no community spread of the virus in the nation of 5 million.
A New Zealand judge sentenced white supremacist Brenton Tarrant to life in prison without parole on Thursday for killing 51 Muslim worshippers in the country’s deadliest shooting, saying the sentence was not enough punishment for the “wicked” crimes. It was the first time a court in New Zealand had sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life.
A court in New Zealand has heard for the first time an official account of how a terrorist who murdered 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch planned and executed the attacks – and his intentions to burn down both places of worship and attack a third. The details of the attack were read at the beginning of a high-security hearing to decide whether the Australian man who has admitted committing the mass shootings will ever leave prison.
New Zealand’s prime minister postponed the country’s general election on Monday by a month to Oct. 17 as the city of Auckland remains in lockdown due to a growing coronavirus outbreak. Jacinda Ardern bowed to pressure to delay the polls after parties complained they could not campaign with nearly a third of New Zealand’s 5 million people under lockdown in Auckland.
New Zealand’s most populous city has gone back under lockdown after new locally transmitted coronavirus cases broke the 102-day streak the country had gone without recording a local infection. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Tuesday night, and announced that Auckland will temporarily see level three restrictions introduced for three days starting from midday on Wednesday.
New Zealand has successfully wiped out coronavirus after the final person known to have been infected recovered. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was confident the country had halted the spread of COVID-19, but said it would “almost certainly” see more cases in the future. Following the country’s progress, ministers have approved another phase of reopening from midnight, Ms Ardern said.
New Zealand’s PM stayed calm during an earthquake on live TV on Monday morning. She interrupted AM Show presenter Ryan Bridge to tell him there was an earthquake happening, looking briefly troubled, before smiling and carrying on with the interview. The 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck about 90km north of the capital, Wellington, at 08:00 local time (20:00 GMT Sunday). It was felt across the country.
New Zealand has entered level two of lockdown easing – and the country is open for business. Shopping centers, retail stores and restaurants reopened as of midnight with many people returning their workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. But most gatherings will be limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines will remain in place under the level two restrictions.
New Zealand claimed Monday it had “eliminated” the coronavirus as the country announced the easing of restrictions from “level four” to “level three,” with new cases in single figures. Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director General of Health, said the low number “does give us confidence that we’ve achieved our goal of elimination, which — that never meant zero but it does mean we know where our cases are coming from.”