Stepping Down as New Zealand Prime Minister

“Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me.”Jacinda Ardern has announced her resignation as New Zealand’s prime minister, saying she no longer has enough in the tank to do the job justice. At the party’s annual caucus meeting, she said it was time to go and confirmed a national election for October this year. Her term will end no later than 7 February, and she will continue as an MP until the election. Ardern reflected over the summer break on whether she had the energy to continue in the role, and concluded she did not. She became the world’s youngest female head of government when she was elected prime minister in 2017 at age 37, and has led New Zealand through the Covid-19 pandemic, and major disasters including the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, and the White Island volcanic eruption. Asked how she would like New Zealanders to remember her leadership, Ardern said “as someone who always tried to be kind.” The prime minister’s announcement comes as New Zealand enters a closely-fought election year, with the date of the vote announced for 14 October. The Labour Caucus now has seven days to find out whether a new candidate holds more than two-thirds of support within caucus to become the new leader and prime minister. Opposition National leader Christopher Luxon said Ardern had “made a significant contribution to New Zealand, in what is a difficult and demanding job” and called her a “strong ambassador for New Zealand on the world stage”. The prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, paid tribute to Ardern, saying she “has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.” Ardern said the increased risk associated with the job were not behind her decision to step down, and that her decline in the polls was not the reason she was leaving. She thanked her partner and daughter, and said she had no future plans other than to spend more time with her family.

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