Jacinda Ardern meets supporters at an Auckland shopping mall, ahead of Saturday’s New Zealand election. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Political leaders in New Zealand put in a frantic final day on the campaign trail before Saturday’s vote, with Jacinda Ardern, the Labour leader and prime minister, making a whistle-stop tour of shopping malls in the largest city, Auckland, where she was greeted by hundreds of fans who clamoured for selfies.
It was a more muted day for Judith Collins, the leader of centre-right opposition party National, who opted for a handful of events with party volunteers and reporters as she made a last attempt to poke holes in Ardern’s track record. A final poll on Thursday showed Collins’s party languishing about 15 points behind Labour.
At South City shopping mall in Manurewa, Polynesian hip-hop blared out from oversized speakers, prompting a phalanx of Labour supporters to welcome Ardern with an impromptu dance.
Ardern’s partner, Clarke Gayford, joined her for the last day of campaigning, but he was ejected to the edge of the crowd as Ardern was swamped by fans, pulling her into their arms and shouting words of thanks for her efforts on containing Covid-19.