New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Resigning

New Zealand (NZ) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed she will be resigning after six years in the position as the nation heads into an election year.

Ardern, who was elected as the prime minister in 2017, will step down sometime between Jan. 19 and Feb. 7 after the NZ Labour party decides on her replacement.

Speaking about her decision, Ardern said that she had realised that after leading the country for nearly six years, she did not have enough left in the tank for another four-year term.

“I am human; politicians are human,” she said at the Labour Party’s caucus meeting in Napier on Thursday. “We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”

Ardern noted that she would be doing a disservice to New Zealanders if she continued as prime minister.

“I’m not leaving because it was hard. Had that been the case, I probably would have departed two months into the job. I am leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility,” she said. “The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not.”

Ardern noted that her decision was supported by her family, many of whom had not wanted her to resign. But did take time to note to her daughter in her speech that she would be there for her first day of school this year.

Youngest Elected Leader Since 1800s

Elected when she was 37 years old, Ardern was the youngest person elected as prime minister in New Zealand since the 1800s and was just the third woman elected to the leadership position. She was also only the second female prime minister in the world to give birth to a child during her time in power, with the first being former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

She leaves behind a mixed legacy, with many praising her for her empathy as prime minister when responding to events like the March 2019 Christchurch massacre.

The event resulted in the death of 51 people at two mosques in one of New Zealand’s largest cities. In its immediate aftermath, Ardern announced a nationwide ban on military-style semiautomatic assault rifles, a policy move that made international headlines.

However, others have argued her legacy was marred by the Ardern government’s pandemic response, which saw New Zealanders rally in their thousands multiple times during 2021-2022 over government-mandated lockdowns, strict vaccine mandates, and quarantine measures.

Additionally, her government’s environmental protection laws led to mass protests from farmers across the country.

Leaders of the country’s opposition parties have had a mixed response to the announcement.

NZ National Party leader Chris Luxon thanked Ardern for her service, saying in a Twitter post that Ardern had given her all to the job.

“On behalf of the National Party, I offer to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern our thanks for her service to New Zealand,” Luxon said. “She has given her all to this incredibly demanding job, and I wish her and her family all the very best for the future. Thank you Jacinda.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand ACT Party leader David Seymour said in a media release on Jan. 19 that he wished Ardern well, but he thought that the country was in need of a new leadership direction.

“I’ve known Jacinda for over a decade and while we rarely see eye to eye on political matters, we have remained collegial and have been able to team up for a good cause when the opportunity arose,” he said.

“Jacinda is a well-meaning person, but her idealism collided hard with reality. Unfortunately, this has left the country with big problems: the economy, the lawlessness, the Treaty.

“New Zealand needs a new government of real change, and ACT will be providing the ideas and the backbone to make the change real.”

NZ Labor in Good Position Coming into the Election

Ardern said that she believed that she would be leaving while the NZ Labor party was in a good position coming into the election scheduled to be held on Oct.14.

“I am not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election. But because I believe we can and will, and we need a fresh set of shoulders for that challenge,” she said.

“We’ve achieved a huge amount in the last five years. And I’m so proud of that.”

“We are in a fundamentally different place on climate change than where we were with ambitious targets and a plan to achieve them. We have turned around child poverty statistics and made the most significant increases in welfare in the state housing stock that we’ve seen in many decades,” she said.

“We’ve made it easier to access education and training; we’ve improved the pay conditions of workers and shifted our settings towards a high wage, high skilled economy, and we’ve worked hard to make progress on issues around our national identity, ” she said.

She noted that this was all done while the government responded to some of the biggest global challenges—like the COVID-19 pandemic—since World War Two.

“The team that has done all of that,” she said. “They are well placed to take us forward as we continue to focus on our economic recovery with one of the strongest economies in the world. ”

World Leaders Respond

World leaders have taken to social media to respond to Ardern’s resignation.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Ardern on Twitter, saying that Ardern had shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.

“Jacinda Ardern has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength,” he wrote on Twitter. “She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.”

Calling Ardern a fierce advocate for New Zealand, Albanese said that she had been an inspiration to many and a great friend.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thanked Ardern for her partnership and friendship.

“Thank you, @JacindaArdern, for your partnership and your friendship–and your empathic, compassionate, strong, and steady leadership over these past several years. The difference you have made is immeasurable. I’m wishing you and your family nothing but the best, my friend,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.