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Australia brightens as New Zealand delays

17 August 2020

By Ian Silvera, Account Director

We’re still living through a global pandemic and if you need coldly reminding of that fact take a look at New Zealand. Once held up as a case study in how to lead during the outbreak, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has now delayed the country’s general election by four weeks after an outbreak in Auckland – literally putting democracy on hold. The poll, which was originally planned for 19 September, will now be held on 17 October. 

Life had effectively turned backed to normal in New Zealand, with much-loved Super Rugby back on the menu alongside restaurants and bars. But after more than 100 days without any known community transmissions, that all changed last week when Arden announced four new cases from one household in Auckland. 

Arden is still well ahead in the opinion polls, with her Labour Party consistently scoring more than 20 point leads over the conservative opposition, the New Zealand National Party. Across the Tasman Sea, meanwhile, things are looking up. 

The latest Newgate Australia weekly tracker, last conducted between 10 and 12 August from over 1,200 people, found that positive sentiment was on the rise about both the country’s strategy to constrain coronavirus and the outlook for the economy, as Australians this week started to see glimmers of hope amid lockdown and restrictions. 

While 69% of respondents still expected the economy to be worse in one month, for instance, this is down nine points from last week (78%). Elsewhere, 74% of people questioned thought Australia was taking the right approach, up from 68% the previous week, while the proportion saying the nation was not taking the issue seriously enough decreased from 25% to 20%.

This is all playing out with hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year. But until then, or any other significant developments in fighting the virus, we are still very much in for some more twists and turns as the outbreak continues with its grip of uncertainty over the world.