New Zealand PM Ardern’s approval rating rises to highest since taking office

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a press conference at the Justice Precinct in Christchurch on March 28, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
0

New Zealand PM Ardern’s approval rating rises to highest since taking office

  • Ardern burst into prominence after her coalition ended 10 years of National Party’s center right rule, promising more money for social services and by vowing to tighten foreign investment rules

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was praised at home and abroad for her handling of the Christchurch mosques shooting last month, received her highest approval rating since taking office in a widely watched poll on Monday.
The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton political survey showed 51 percent of respondents said Ardern was their preferred prime minister, climbing seven percentage points from the last poll in February.
Its the first political survey since a lone gunman killed 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.
Ratings for Ardern’s rival, opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges, dropped one percentage point to five percent.
Party vote results also showed Ardern’s Labour Party rising three percentage points to 48 percent while the National’s rating dropping to its lowest since September 2017, at 40 percent.
“All I know is that I’m doing my job to the best of my ability,” Ardern told 1News when asked about the poll result.
Since coming to power in 2017, Ardern’s coalition government has faced several challenges including weak business confidence, emboldened unions and a slowing economy. Her youth and global celebrity has also given critics doubt.
But the 38-year-old leader struck all the right notes in the hours after the Christchurch attack.
Ardern promptly labelled the mass killing as terrorism, and set about reassuring a nation that has been largely unscathed by the violence and fears that have afflicted other countries in the past two decades.
Picture of Ardern’s wearing a head scarf and comforting families affected by the massacre went viral on the social media, and garnered praises from Muslims around the world, as well as leaders of other nations.
She also successfully passed a contentious gun law within a month of the shooting, which banned semi-autmatic weapons.
Ardern burst into prominence after her coalition ended 10 years of National Party’s center right rule, promising more money for social services and by vowing to tighten foreign investment rules.
She rocketed to global celebrity as an inspiration for women after the unexpected election win, and she became only the second leader to give birth while in office since Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto.
The poll was taken from April 6 to April 10, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, the polling agency said.


Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

Updated 16 July 2019
0

Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

  • Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory

LISBON: Portugal has suspended the issuance of entry visas for Iranian nationals for unspecified security reasons, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Answering a question from a committee member on whether such a move had been taken, Santos Silva said during the televised meeting: “Yes, we suspended those for security reasons ... I will provide explanations later, but not publicly.”
“Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory,” he added, without disclosing when the decision was taken.
The chairman declared the meeting closed after about two hours without further off-camera testimony.
Joao Goncalves Pereira, the lawmaker from the conservative CDS-PP party who asked the question, told Reuters: “We received information that visas for Iranians had been suspended for two or three weeks, and we just wanted to confirm that.”
He would not say what was the source of that original information or whether any Iranian nationals had complained about the situation.
Foreign ministry officials had no immediate comment and nobody was available for comment in the Iranian embassy in Lisbon.