Keep counting votes in USA: NZ's Ardern

Ben McKay
·2-min read

Jacinda Ardern has compared New Zealand's "calm oasis" with the "chaotic and difficult world" in her first comments since election day in the United States.

Speaking in Auckland on Thursday, the prime minister fell short of condemning Donald Trump for prematurely claiming victory in the election on Wednesday night (AEDT).

She did, however, make a pointed reference to her hope that ballot-counting would continue as the president's campaign makes legal bids to challenge counting in states where the result will be determined.

Ms Ardern, who has previously lived in the US, said she believed democracy would prevail.

"We have faith in the institutions in the United States," she said.

"And of course faith that those final votes will continue to be counted and that there will be a final result declared.

"This is another country's democracy and now it's time for us to let it run its course."

As with most US presidential elections, the result hinges on the count in a small number of swing states.

Based on projected vote tallies, Mr Trump looks set to lose the presidency to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Ms Ardern said she stood ready to work with either man, with New Zealand eager to progress free trade talks with the USA.

"My job in this role as prime minister is to work with whoever another country decides should be the leader in the same way that New Zealand expects every other country to work with whoever (we) elect as prime minister."

The 40-year-old won her own bid for re-election last month in the New Zealand election.

On Thursday, Ms Ardern gave her first major post-election address, spelling out her immediate governing priorities to Business NZ.

She began by addressing the US election, saying "I'm speaking with you at a time when New Zealand feels like a calm oasis in a chaotic and difficult world".

"I watched the results of the US election roll in, and I couldn't help but reflect on our own elections in recent years," she said.

"Increasingly I've come to believe that we have to find ways that strong views can be held, and expressed, but without the accompanying partisanship that stops us from working to build consensus where it really matters."