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Jacinda Ardern Will Resign As New Zealand’s Prime Minister

The Prime Minister will officially resign no later than February 7.

New Zealand’s 40th Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that she is officially resigning from the role. 

The announcement comes several months ahead of the country’s General Election, which was set to be held on October 14.

In a press conference delivered at a Labour Party caucus retreat in the North Island city of Napier, Ardern announced her plans to resign no later than February 7.

Jacinda-Ardern-resigns-New Zealand-prime-minister
“It’s time.” Jacinda Ardern made the shocking announcement at an emergency press conference held at the Labour Party caucus meeting in Napier (Credit: Source: Getty)

Addressing the media, the Labour leader revealed she felt it was time for her to step back from the role, citing she had “no longer had enough in the tank” for the task at hand. 

“I am human, politicians are human,” she said during her announcement.

“We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.

“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.”

Currently, no information about the transition of government is yet to be announced, however it’s excepted the politician will address the parliament reshuffle and who is set to replace her as Prime Minister in the coming days. 

Ardern was first elected to power in 2017, making history as the world’s youngest female Prime Minister and New Zealand’s third ever female Prime Minister. 

Furthermore, she is the only world leader to give birth while in office, with the Prime Minister welcoming her daughter, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford (4), in 2018.

Ardern was re-elected in 2022, and had previously announced in November 2022 her plans to run as a third term in this year’s General Election.

Through out her tenure as Prime Minister, Ardern found global recognition and adoration for her candour as a compassionate leadership, especially in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque shooting in 2019. 

Jacinda Ardern visits the site of the Christchurch Mosque in the aftermath of the shooting in 2019. (Credit: Source: Getty)

Her leadership is lauded both in New Zealand and internationally thanks to her progressive approach to overcoming the effects of climate change—Ardern declared a climate change emergency in New Zealand  in 2020 and pledged to make the country climate neutral by 2025—and support for the Māori people. 

In 2022, Ardern delivered a historic, unprecedented and “long overdue” Crown apology to the Ngati Maniapoto tribe for the failures of previous New Zealand governments to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi and the “intergenerational-suffering” inflicted on Māori as a result. 

“The Crown profoundly regrets its horrific and needless acts of war and raupatu (land confiscation) which have caused you and your hapu (tribe) inter-generational suffering,” said the Prime Minister during her apology. 

Under Ardern’s leadership, a $155 million agreement was brokered between the government and Ngati Maniapoto tribe, ending over 30 years of negotiation and helping to address centuries of wrongdoing. As part of the arrangement, 36 sites of cultural significance to Maori were also returned to the Indigenous population. 

However, that’s not to say Ardern’s tenure at the helm of New Zealand wasn’t without controversy. 

More recently, her government came under scrutiny for passing a world-first anti-smoking ban, which prohibits anyone born in 2009 or later from ever purchasing smoked tobacco products in their lifetime. 

This piece of legislature was passed to support Ardern’s ambitious goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by smoke free by 2050, along with encouraging equitable health for Māori.

In her resignation announcement, Ardern revealed she hopes to be remembered 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.”

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