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New Zealanders head to polls for national vote

AP | Taupo (New Zealand |

New Zealanders were voting today in a national election that appears to be a close race between conservative Prime Minister Bill English and liberal challenger Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern has enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity since taking over as opposition leader last month.

The 37-year-old has been greeted like a rock star at large rallies and has generated plenty of excitement among her fans.

The 55-year-old English has run a more low-key campaign, highlighting his experience and the economic growth the country has enjoyed. He’s promising tax cuts for most workers.

Opinion polls indicate there has been a swing back to English in the waning days of the campaign after Ardern had all the early momentum.

Voting continues until 7 PM local time with first results expected about 90 minutes later.