Jacinda Ardern Resignation News Today 19th January 2023
Jacinda Ardern Resignation News Today 19th January 2023: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday that she will step down as leader within the next few weeks, saying that she does not believe she has the energy to run for re-election in the October polls.
At a press conference, Ardern stated that her term will end by February 7th, when a new Labour prime minister will be sworn in – though, it could be earlier depending on the process.
Ardern said, The decision was mine alone. Being a leader of a country is the greatest privilege anyone could ever have, but also the most demanding.
You should not and cannot do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected and unplanned challenges.
“I no longer have enough in the tank to do the job justice,” she added.
When Ardern became Prime Minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she was New Zealand’s third female leader and one of the youngest leaders in the world.
Within a year, she had given birth in office — only the second world leader ever to do so.
She was re-elected for a second term in 2020, the victory buoyed by her government’s “go hard and go early” approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw New Zealand impose some of the world’s strictest border rules, separating families and shutting out almost all foreigners for almost two years.
On Thursday, Ardern spoke candidly about the toll the job has taken and reflected on the various crises her government has faced, including both the pandemic and the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, which killed 51 people at two mosques.
The attack was a defining moment of Ardern’s leadership, and her rapid response won widespread praise.
She swiftly introduced gun law reforms, wore a hijab to show her respect for the Muslim community and publicly said she would never speak the name of the alleged attacker.
“The only interesting angle that you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, I am human. Politicians are human,” she said.
“We give all that we can for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Ardern also highlighted achievements made during her tenure, including legislation on climate change and child poverty.
“I wouldn’t want this last five and a half years to simply be about the challenges. For me, it’s also been about the progress,” she said.
Bryce Edwards, a political scientist at New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington, said Ardern’s resignation was “shocking” but not a complete surprise.
“She is celebrated throughout the world but her government has plummeted in the polls,” he said.
New Zealand’s next general election will be held on October 14.
Quick climb up the political ladder
A former DJ and lapsed Mormon, Ardern was considered the closest thing New Zealand had to a rockstar politician, attracting mass rallies and wall-to-wall press coverage.
She enjoyed particularly strong support among young people, in a wave dubbed “Jacindamania” during her first election. That popularity has extended overseas, with Ardern gracing the covers of Vogue and Time magazine, and hosting American TV personality Stephen Colbert at her suburban Auckland home.
However, while Ardern gained supporters globally for her fresh and empathetic approach to the role, her popularity has waned in New Zealand in recent years, with some critics arguing she has done little to deliver the transformational government she promised when first elected.
Several polls in late 2022 showed falling support for Ardern and her Labour Party, with some at their lowest level since she took office in 2017, according to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand.
Edwards, the political analyst, said Ardern’s decision to stand down may have been to avoid a disappointing election result.
“Leaving now is the best thing for her reputation…she will go out on good terms rather than losing the election,” he said.
Edwards said there isn’t “anyone obvious” to replace her, though potential candidates include Police and Education Minister Chris Hipkins, who has a strong relationship with Ardern, and Justice Minister Kiri Allan.
Ardern said she has no firm plans about what she’ll do next, but is looking forward to spending more time with her family again. “Arguably, they’re the ones that have sacrificed the most out of all of us,” said Ardern.
Addressing her child and fiance, she said: “For Neve, Mom is looking forward to being there when you start school this year, and to Clarke, let’s finally get married.”
Ardern has been engaged to television host Clarke Gayford since 2019.
A woman of influence
While in office, Ardern made a name for herself as a trailblazer, often speaking about gender equality and women’s rights. For example, when announcing her pregnancy in 2018, she emphasized the ability of women to balance work and motherhood.
“I am not the first woman to multi-task, I’m not the first woman to work and have a baby, I know these are special circumstances but there will be many women who will have done this well before I have,” she said at the time, with Gayford taking on the role of a stay-at-home dad.
After giving birth, she and Gayford brought their 3-month-old baby to the United Nations General Assembly, with Ardern telling CNN she wanted to “create a path for other women” and help make workplaces more open.
In a 2021 interview with CNN, she reflected on her rise to power, saying: “It was not so long ago that being a woman in politics was a very isolating experience.”
The announcement of her impending resignation on Thursday sparked a wave of support on social media, including from other political leaders, with many pointing out the legacy she is leaving for women in politics.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted praise for Ardern, saying she “has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength” and has been “a great friend to me.”
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong also tweeted her best wishes for Ardern, saying she was “a source of inspiration to me and many others.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared a photo on Twitter of him and Ardern walking together, thanking her for her friendship and “empathic, compassionate, strong, and steady leadership over these past several years.”
“The difference you have made is immeasurable,” he added.
Reasons for Jacinda Ardern Resignation
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation on Thursday, stating that she does not believe she has the energy to run for re-election in the October polls.
Ardern cited the demanding nature of the job as the reason for her resignation, saying that leading a country is the most privileged job one could ever have, but also the most challenging, and that one should not do the job unless one has a full tank and a bit in reserve for unexpected challenges.
She also acknowledged that her popularity had waned in recent years, with polls showing falling support for her and her party.
Ardern’s decision to step down is thought to be in order to maintain a good reputation rather than lose the election.
Jacinda Ardern Resignation Speech
Source: CNN & BBC