Hundreds of people gathered to applaud Jacinda Ardern as she left the New Zealand Parliament this Wednesday, after leaving office as prime minister to her successor, Chris Hipkins.
The 42-year-old Labor politician said last week she did not have the “energy” to carry on, after leading the country amid natural disasters the worst “terrorist” attack in its history and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her last public appearance as prime minister, she walked out of Parliament before hundreds of bystanders erupted in spontaneous applause.
your ally hipkins44, was sworn in as the new prime minister by New Zealand’s Governor-General in a ceremony in the capital Wellington. “This is the greatest privilege and responsibility of my life”Hipkins declared after taking office. “I am motivated and excited about the challenges”.
Hipkins, who is responsible for New Zealand’s response to the pandemic, now faces the task of lifting the government’s low approval ratings ahead of the October general election.
drop in popularity
Ardern was elected prime minister in 2017, and her popularity allowed her to be re-elected to a second term with a landslide victory in 2020, when the expression was coined. “Jacindamania”.
But his center-left government has struggled over the past two years with rising inflation, a possible recession and the rise of conservative opposition.
After chairing his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Hipkins said it was an “immensely proud moment” for him to “take over” from Ardern.
He listed the cost of living as one of his pressing priorities, but was evasive when asked about other policies.
Ardern, an icon of progressive politics, has been credited with raising New Zealand’s international profile.
Hipkins said he’ll build his own ties, though he said he hopes Ardern will help him with that.
The father of two and nicknamed “Chippy”, Hipkins considers himself a “regular Kiwi” who comes from a blue-collar family and enjoys cycling to work.
The new prime minister described as “horrendous” social media harassment endured by Ardern, which intensified in his years in power.
Ardern said last Tuesday that he would “hate” if his removal from power was seen in a “negative” light for New Zealand.
“I leave with a feeling of gratitude for having held this wonderful role for so many years,” he said.
Ardern will keep his seat in Parliament, although he announced his intention to get away from daily political life for a bit.
hipkins He comes from a working-class family in the Hutt Valley area of the North Island and has held various senior positions including Minister of Education and Commissioner of Police.
“I think I’m a relatively frank person. People aren’t going to go out of their way to wonder what I’m thinking,” he said. “My parents come from relatively humble beginnings and they worked very hard to give me and my brother a good life.”