Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand PM’s approval rating hits all-time high after weapons ban imposed

Poll boost follows leader winning widespread praise for terror attack response

Zamira Rahim
Monday 15 April 2019 17:51 BST
Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will ban all semi-automatic weapons

Jacinda Ardern has received her highest approval rating since taking office in October 2017, according to a new poll.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents said the New Zealand leader was their preferred prime minister in the 1 News survey, carried out with polling agency Colmar Bruton.

The Labour Party leader’s rating has increased by 7 per cent from the channel’s last poll, which was held in February.

The new survey is the first to be held since Chrischurch mosque attack, in which 50 people were killed by a suspected far-right terrorist.

Ms Ardern received widespread praise for her handling of the attack’s aftermath.

Immediately after the anti-Muslim shootings, which took place in two mosques, the 38-year-old announced that the country’s gun laws would change.

New Zealand went on to ban all semi-automatic, military-style weapons less than a week after the attack.

More than a thousand gun-owners have since handed in their weapons.

Ms Ardern also won praise for her focus on unity and respect immediately after the shootings.

“Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us,” she tweeted on the day of the attack.

She has vowed never to speak the name of the 28-year-old suspected of carrying out the killings. The terrorist’s 72-page manifesto has also been banned.

The politician has promised immediate financial assistance for survivors and for the families of victims who were unable to meet funeral costs or who had lost their only breadwinner in the shootings.

Ms Ardern took the unusual step of wearing a black headscarf while visiting members of the Muslim community in Christchurch in March 2019. a move which has led other non-Muslim women to mirror the gesture at vigils across New Zealand.

“All i know is that I am doing my job to the best of my ability,” the 38-year-old told 1 News when asked about the poll result.

The politician’s left-wing coalition government has struggled with various obstacles over the last two years, including a slowing economy and weak business confidence.

But her approval ratings comfortably exceed those of Simon Bridges, the leader of the opposition National Party.

He had a five per cent rating in the new poll, which was one per cent down on the February survey.

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The poll was carried out between 6 April and 10 April and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent, a spokesperson for Colmar Brunton said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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