“Today, I am announcing I will not be seeking reelection,” said New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. “And my term as prime minister will conclude no later than the 7th of February.”
Wow, what a bombshell, aye. The shock announcement was a such surprise that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a joke. However, Ardern was being 100% serious about resigning, stating that she wants to spend more time with her fam.
“I just don’t have enough in the tank for another four years,” said Ardern.
“To Neve, Mumma is looking forward to being there when you start school this year. And to Clarke, let’s finally get married.”
Additionally, to make matters bigger, Ardern then went on to outline that the New Zealand election will be held on October 14.
As 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.”
Jacinda Ardern’s History
The 42-year-old Prime Minister was elected in 2017 after becoming leader of the New Zealand Labour Party just seven weeks before the election. In 2019, she gained international attention through her sensitive handling of the white supremacist attack on two mosques in Christchurch. She also oversaw the White Island volcano eruption in the same year during which 21 people were killed.
Ardern was elected for a second term in 2020, following her decisive handling of the COVID pandemic that made New Zealand the gold standard for public health measures in the early days of the pandemic. However, the extended lockdowns and a rocky economic recovery made her deeply unpopular with certain factions of the New Zealand electorate.
The outgoing PM said that she hopes she leaves a legacy showing that world leader’s can be: “kind but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused, that you can be your own kind of leader, when that knows when it’s time to go.”
Reactions to Jacinda Ardern Bouncing
Our own Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has described her as a “great friend.”
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
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Opposition and National Party Leader, Christopher Luxon, said, “On behalf of the National Party, I offer to Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, our thanks for her service to New Zealand. 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.”
However, Debbie Anne Ngarewa-Packer, the co-leader of the Māori Party, had a very different take from a lot of other politicians and leaders.
“It is a sad day for politics where an outstanding leader has been driven from office for constant personalisation and vilification,” said Ngarewa-Packer. “Her whanau have withstood the ugliest attacks over the last two years with what we believe to be the most demeaning form of politics we have ever seen.”
In this statement, Ngarewa-Packer is referring to the explosive and yikes comments Ardern received for not letting COVID run loose. Unfortunately, some folks don’t want their country’s leaders to lead.