New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation after making a shocking announcement when she confirmed the holding of national elections this October.
At Thursday’s caucuses, Ardern said “there weren’t enough tanks anymore” to do the job. “It’s time,” she said.
“With such a privileged role comes responsibility, so I am leaving. A responsibility to know when I am the right person to lead and when I am not. And I know there isn’t enough left in the tank to justify it.
Her term as prime minister will end no later than February 7, but she will retain her position as an MP until elections later this year.
“I’m human, and politicians are humans too. We do the best we can, and it’s time. And for me, it’s time,” she said. Ardern said she wondered if she had the energy to continue the role over the summer break, and she concluded she didn’t.
Ardern was elected prime minister in 2017 at the age of 37, making her the youngest female prime minister in the world. She has led New Zealand through the Covid-19 pandemic and other catastrophes such as the terrorist attacks on her two mosques in Christchurch and White Island. volcanic eruption.
“It has been the most fulfilling five and a half years of my life. But it has also come with challenges. Domestic terrorist attacks, large-scale natural disasters, We have encountered a global pandemic, an economic crisis,” she said.
When asked how she would like New Zealanders to remember her leadership, Ardern replied “as someone who always tried to be kind”.
“I want New Zealanders to leave with the belief that they can be kind yet strong, empathetic yet decisive, optimistic yet focused. So that I can be a leader who knows where to go,” Ardern said.
Over the past year, Ardern has faced a significant increase in threats of violence, particularly from conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine groups enraged by the country’s vaccine mandate and Covid-19 lockdown. He said the increased risk was not behind his decision to resign.
“I don’t want to leave the impression that the adversity people face in politics is the reason people leave politics. said.
Ardern said he has no plans for the future other than spending more time with his family.
She thanked her partner, Clark Gayford, and her daughter Neve, whom she gave birth to during her tenure, as “the ones who sacrificed the most of all of us.”
“To Neve: Mom, I’m looking forward to seeing you start school this year. And to Clark—we’re finally getting married.”
The prime minister’s announcement comes as New Zealand enters a hotly contested election year, with an election date announced on 14 October. Opinion polls in recent months have shown Ardern’s Labor party just behind the opposition National Party.
Ardern said her declining approval ratings in public opinion polls were not behind her decision to resign.
“I need a new set of shoulders for that challenge, not because I believe I can’t win the election, but because I believe we can and will,” she said. .
However, it is not yet clear who will replace Ardern. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grant Robertson, considered the front-runner for the role, said Thursday he was not seeking the position. In his statement, he said, “I have no intention of running for Labor leader.”
The Labor Caucus now has seven days to see if a new candidate holds more than two-thirds of the support to become the new leader and prime minister at the caucuses. The caucus vote will be held three days later on January 22nd. If no one meets the threshold level of endorsement, the leadership contest will be open to the wider Labor party.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Ardern saying she “showed the world how to lead with intelligence and strength”.
“She demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities,” he said.