People visit a supermarket in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 15, 2020. Photo: Xinhua
New Zealand announced on Monday that the country‘s general election will be postponed by a month over fears of a recent coronavirus surge, which observers said exposed the country‘s double standards after criticizing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region‘s government last week for postponing the Legislative Council (LegCo) election.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern postponed the general election, which was due to take place on September 19, to October 17.
The decision was made in light of the recent coronavirus spike in the country‘s largest city, Auckland. A family of four was confirmed with COVID-19 on Tuesday with an unidentified source of the virus after 102 days without community spread.
Nine new confirmed cases were reported on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,280, with 22 deaths, New Zealand Ministry of Health data showed.
The postponement sparked ridicule in China. A week ago, New Zealand, together with other members of the Five Eyes alliance, criticized the HKSAR government‘s decision for the one-year delay in the Legislative Council election, which was made for fear of COVID-19, as “delaying elections to undermine the democratic process.”
“Western politicians‘ different attitudes toward Hong Kong SAR and New Zealand over similar matters have exposed their self-righteous, hypocritical double standards,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday.
While the Five Eyes Alliance, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, relentlessly urged the HKSAR government to hold the LegCo election despite the double-digit growth in daily coronavirus infections in Hong Kong, their own governments have acted differently when similar matters concern them.
The UK postponed its local and mayoral elections by a year from May 7, 2020 to May 6, 2021 due to concerns over the welfare of party staff and members amid the COVID-19 situation.
Australia‘s New South Wales government also announced in March the postponement of local government elections scheduled for September, to address the risks of the virus.
Some Western media, such as AP, have been comparing New Zealand with Hong Kong, saying that New Zealand‘s decision is backed by opposition parties, while Hong Kong‘s did not win opposition support.
Li explained that the two cases are different. “The opposition in Hong Kong just wants to seize on this chance, along with the illegal “primaries” in July, to force the election as soon as possible so that they can seize power and paralyze the HKSAR government.” Li noted they are prioritizing their political agenda over public health.
He said that some people from Hong Kong‘s opposition have become puppets of Western powers, been manipulated to meddle in the internal affairs of China, and do not represent the interests of the people.