‘No regrets’: Jacinda Ardern is stepping down as New Zealand’s prime minister

the main points
  • Ms. Ardern choked on tears because she said she did not have the energy to run for re-election.
  • She said the challenge of the past years “has taken its toll”.
  • Ms Ardern said Labor would elect a new leader by the end of the week.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her retirement from politics within the next month.
Ardern choked back tears Thursday as she said she did not have the energy to run for re-election.

“I know what this job takes,” she said. “I know I don’t have enough left in the tank to do justice.”

She said the challenge of the past years “has taken its toll”.
“I’m going to do this country a disservice knowing I don’t have enough in the tank to keep working for the next four years.”
Ms Ardern said Labor would elect a new leader by the end of the week, but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson would not be a candidate.

The surprise announcement was made in Napier at the party’s caucus retreat at the start of the year.

“I knew as soon as I did it, my mind wasn’t for a change,” she said, adding that some of her family members urged her to stay in the job.
Ardern was expected to announce the date of the election – which she did on October 14, but she shocked all comers by announcing her exit from politics.

She said she had “no regrets”, saying she had achieved what she set out to do as prime minister.

“I also leave knowing that I did my best.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised the “sympathy” via a tweet on Thursday.

Of Ms. Ardern, he wrote: “She has demonstrated that compassion and insight are powerful leadership qualities. Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to many and a great friend to me.”

Lady Ardern did not speculate who would succeed her in this role when asked if the country was ready for Māori leadership.
When asked what she would like to be remembered for, she said she wanted it to be her passion and honesty.

“As a person he always tried to be nice,” Ardern said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives with her husband Clark Gifford and daughter Neve to attend the Queen’s memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday, September 26, 2022. Source: aap / Mark Mitchell

Mrs. Ardern also addressed her family; Her fiancé, Clark Gifford, and four-year-old daughter, Neff.

“Nevy, my mom is looking forward to having you there when school starts this year,” she said.
“And to Clark – let’s get married at last.”

The race to succeed Ardern as prime minister appears to be an open contest with Grant Robertson – finance minister and former leadership aspirant – deciding not to run.

“I have been honored in my working life to support Jacinda as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister,” he said in a statement.
“Her intellect, judgment and compassion make her one of New Zealand’s finest captains.”

“As a colleague, friend and New Zealander, I am deeply grateful for her service and commitment and wish her every joy and success in the future.”

Other candidates include Education Secretary Chris Hepkins, a close ally of Ms. Ardern, Foreign Minister Nanaya Mahuta and Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
Under Labor rules, two-thirds of caucus members must support a leadership candidate in Sunday’s vote or the contest will be opened to the wider membership.

Ms Ardern – who will continue as MP for the Mount Albert electorate in Auckland until April – has requested that this process be completed by 7 February, the day after Waitangi Day.

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