Jacinda Ardern says goodbye to Chris Hipkins to become prime minister of New Zealand

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New Zealand welcomed a new Prime Minister on Wednesday, six days after Jacinda Ardern resigned ahead of the upcoming election.

Chris Hipkins, 44, was sworn in on Wednesday at an inauguration ceremony in the capital Wellington.

Hipkins was first elected to Parliament in 2008 and was in charge of the country’s Covid-19 policies in 2020. Before becoming prime minister, he was education minister, police minister, public service minister, and director the house

Hipkins was given the unanimous support of the ruling Labor party on Sunday to succeed Ardern as its leader. He was the only nominee.

Videos show Ardern leaving Parliament on Wednesday to greet viewers. Several lawmakers and staff had gathered outside, some clearly emotional as they said goodbye.

Ardern attended her last official visit as prime minister on Tuesday, joining the annual Māori religious festival in the village of Rātana with Hipkins.

“I have experienced such love, compassion, empathy and kindness at work. That was my greatest experience. So I leave feeling grateful to have had this wonderful role for so many years,” Ardern told reporters at the event.

“I would hate for anyone to see my departure as a negative statement on New Zealand,” she said.

Ardern said the most important piece of advice she gave Hipkins was “you do it.”

“This is for him now. It is up to him to carve out his own place, to be a kind of leader. Actually, there is no advice I can give. I can share information, I can share experiences, but this is now for him,” she said.

“You won’t see me commenting on domestic politics, I’ve had my time,” Ardern said, adding: “I’m ready to be a backbench MP, I’m ready to being a sister and a mother.

When Ardern became prime minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she was the third female leader of New Zealand and one of the youngest leaders in the world. Within a year, she had become just the second world leader born in office.

She announced her intention to resign last Thursday, speaking openly about the toll the job has taken and reflecting on the various crises she has faced as the country’s leader. , including both the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly 2019 Christchurch terror attack.

“The only interesting angle you will find, after going through six years of great challenges, is that I am human. Politicians are human,” she said. “We give as much as we can for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”

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