As the election night excitement quickly wears off, Jacinda Ardern has work to do. There is a refreshed cabinet to select from a much larger range of MPs. There are talks to be had with James Shaw about the role that the Greens might play. And the big challenges have not disappeared. Each new case of the virus, however well managed, is a fresh reminder that the international pandemic is still with us. And before long, there will be renewed attention to the government’s plan to get New Zealand’s economy humming without adding to an already strenuous covid-era debt burden.
But the Prime Minister’s thoughts must occasionally turn to the US federal election on 3 November. Ardern and her colleagues, like so many New Zealanders, will be waiting and hoping for Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump. But New Zealand hasn’t been waiting for Joe since the Democratic Party made Biden its nominee. We’ve been doing that for the best part of four years.