Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, said Thursday that she will step down in a few weeks. She said she doesn’t think she has the energy to run again in the October elections.
At a news conference, Ardern said that her term would end on February 7, when she expects a new Labour prime minister to be sworn in, but “depending on the process, that could be earlier.”
“The decision was my own,” Ardern said. “Leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also the most challenging. You cannot and should not do it unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected challenges.”
Jacinda Ardern has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.
She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.
Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me. pic.twitter.com/QJ64mNCJMI
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 19, 2023
“I no longer have enough in the tank to [the job] justice,” she added. She said that at the end of 2022, she gave herself time to think about whether she still had what it took to be prime minister. In the end, she decided that it was time to step down.
However, she added: “I am not leaving because it was hard. If that were the case, I would have left after only two months on the job,” she said, citing the Covid-19 epidemic, the 2019 Christchurch terror incident, and the devastating volcanic eruption on Waiheke Island, better known as White Island.
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She also said that the early announcement will help government agencies and political parties plan and get ready. On October 14, there will be a general election.
When Ardern became Prime Minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she was the third woman to lead New Zealand and one of the youngest world leaders. Within a year, she became only the second world leader to have a baby while in office.
She was re-elected for a second term in 2020. Her government’s “go hard and go early” approach to the pandemic helped New Zealand avoid the devastating outbreaks seen in other places.
Jacinda Ardern is a young, accomplished, female leader and that made a lot of people, who are stuck in the past, mad, both in New Zealand and around the world.
Congrats Jacinda Ardern on everything you have accomplished. pic.twitter.com/Ayy22qIbHU
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) January 19, 2023
After the announcement on Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted that Ardern “has shown the world how to lead with intelligence and strength” and that she has been “a great friend to me.”
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