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Coronavirus fears lead to delayed elections in New Zealand

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Coronavirus

As New Zealand witnesses new spike in coronavirus cases after country had declared itself “coronavirus free”, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has postponed general elections by a month. The voting that was supposed to be held on September 19 has now been scheduled to October 17.

Earlier last week the country’s biggest city Auckland went back into lockdown due to surge in coronavirus cases. Ms. Arden in her announcement on Monday said that the rescheduled election date would let the parties “plan around the range of circumstances we will be campaigning under”.

“This decision gives all parties time over the next nine weeks to campaign and the Electoral Commission enough time to ensure an election can go ahead,” said PM Arden. However, she added that there is “absolutely no intention” to allow any further delay in the general elections in the country.

The opposition National Party is however arguing that the elections must be rescheduled till the pandemic crisis is looming in New Zealand. The opposition is of belief that due to absence of campaigning; Ms. Arden will have an undue advantage in the elections.

Last Wednesday, Auckland had re-imposed restrictions in the wake of fresh coronavirus cases. On Monday, there were nine fresh cases. Contact tracing revealed them to be from a family, the first case traced back to July 31.

The country was under shock with new waves of coronavirus cases after New Zealand had not witnessed any locally transmitted cases for over three months. Four alert levels are underway in New Zealand – level 3 in Auckland and rest of the country is at level 2.

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