New Zealand PM to delay dissolution of parliament

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference prior to the anniversary of the mosque attacks that took place the prior year in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Martin Hunter

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday delayed a key step toward next month’s general election, as the country was plunged back into lockdown after the discovery of the first COVID-19 cases in more than three months.

Ardern said she was suspending the dissolution of parliament, which was due to make way for an election scheduled to take place on Sept. 19, until Monday. No decision had yet been made on delaying the actual poll, she added.

The cluster, the first cases reported in the country for 102 days, led Ardern to announce the reimposition of lockdown measures late on Tuesday.

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