Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern Resigns as NZ Prime Minister

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 19 January 2023 > In the News Shine Bright Collège Shine Bright Lycée

On 19 January, New Zealand's Prime Minister announced that not only would she not seek re-election this year, she was resigning with effect on 7 February.

On 19 January, New Zealand's Prime Minister announced that not only would she not seek re-election this year, she was resigning with effect on 7 February.

Ms Ardern said she just didn’t have the energy to continue as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister after six years in the job. It must be said that she never actually wanted to be Labour leader, and refused the post several times before accepting and being elected the world’s youngest head of government in 2017. She also became only the second head of government to give birth in post a year later. Ardern’s compassionate and open style won her friends at home and abroad, and she has a far greater international profile than any of her predecessors.

Ardern with Joe Biden at the White House in 2022.

She has had to deal with a lot over her tenure. In 2019, New Zealand saw its worst-ever terrorist attack, the terrible shooting at a mosque in Christchurch in 2019 that left 51 people dead. And then a volcanic eruption on a tourist island killed 17. She was the face of New Zealand’s unique and successful management of coronavirus, which saw the country cut off from the rest of the world but with very low infection and death rates from the virus.

She led Labour to an unexpected landslide victory in 2020 but opinion polls indicate that the party will struggle to win re-election in October this year. The cost-of-living crisis is as bad as in most countries, and Labour has not made headway on election promises on housing and agriculture.

In an emotional speech very typical of her Premiership, Ardern said, "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 continued, “After going-on six years of some big challenges, I am human. I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice.”

Ardern accepting a traditional Māori hongi greeting.

She announced that she will leave her post by 7 February. Labour Party MPs will vote on a new leader this weekend. If they fail to choose one, the party’s rank-and-file members will be consulted.

In the age-old tradition of saying you are resigning to spend more time with your family, Ardern addressed her daughter and husband, promising Neve she will be there when she starts school, and saying to her partner Clarke Gayford, “Let’s finally get married.”

Ardern concluded her press conference saying, "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."

Watch Jacinda Ardern's speech:


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