The woman taking on Jacinda Ardern is a tough-on-crime veteran politician who admires former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and won the nickname “Crusher” due to her bold policy on illegal street racing.
When New Zealanders head to the polls on Saturday they will decide whether to elect 61-year-old Judith Collins, leader of the center-right National Party — or give progressive 40-year-old Ardern a second term as Prime Minister.
Polls suggest that Ardern’s center-left Labour Party and its likely coalition partner, the left-wing Green Party, should cruise to victory. But the real question is whether Labour will need a coalition partner, or if it will become the first party to win a majority of votes since the current political system was introduced in 1996.
“There’s an expectation that it’s Labour’s election to lose,” said Claire Timperley, a New Zealand politics lecturer at Victoria University in Wellington.
It’s fair to say that Collins has taken on a challenge.