Jacinda Ardern To Resign As PM Of New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern To Resign As PM Of New Zealand
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern | Image source: The Tribune

On Thursday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shocked the world as she announced that she would be stepping down next month.

While addressing her party’s annual caucus in the coastal town of Napier, the 42-year-old said “it’s time” for her to move on as she “no longer had enough in the tank” to serve as the prime minister.

“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple,” she said.

Ardern rose to the position of youngest female leader in the world in 2017, at the age 37. She gave birth to her second child a year later, making history as the second elected world leader to do so. She will officially leave the position of prime minister on February 7.

Ardern has guided New Zealand through the White Island volcano eruption, the Christchurch mosque massacres, and the COVID-19 outbreak and the recession that followed. Despite leading the Labour Party to a resounding victory in the 2020 election, Ardern’s domestic popularity has recently dropped to record lows, according to polls. The leader clarified that she was leaving her position because she thought the party would win the next election, and not because she thought it couldn’t.

“We need a fresh set of shoulders for that challenge,” she said.

Deputy PM Grant Robertson declared that he will not challenge the outcome of the Sunday leadership vote. The vote will be cast by the lay members of the Labour Party if one candidate is unable to get the backing of two-thirds of the party room. Australia PM Anthony Albanese praised Ardern for being a leader with intelligence, fortitude, and humanity. “Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ardern mentioned her government’s accomplishments in the areas of combating climate change, social housing, and lowering child poverty as some of her personal favourites. However, she expressed her desire for New Zealanders to remember her as “someone who always tried to be kind”.

“I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go,” she added.

The leadership of Jacinda Ardern has made an “immeasurable” difference on the global stage, according to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who also paid tribute to his New Zealand equivalent. He joined other prominent figures and leaders in expressing appreciation for Ardern.

During the previous year, Ardern’s government slowly lost support in polls due to rising inflation, an impending recession, and a resurgent conservative opposition.

Christopher Luxon, the head of New Zealand’s opposing National Party, praised Ardern as a “strong ambassador for New Zealand on the world stage”, and said that she has “made a significant contribution to New Zealand, in what is a difficult and demanding job”.

Ardern was described as a “well-meaning person” by David Seymour, the leader of right-wing party ACT New Zealand, although he added that “her idealism collided hard with reality”.


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