The name of the successor to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is known, who announced her resignation this week. The former education minister, Chris Hipkins, has been the leader of the Labor Party since Sunday. “I am full of energy and excited about the challenge ahead of me,” he told the conference.
New Zealand’s ruling Labor Party elected Chris Hipkins as its leader on Sunday. Thus, he will become the country’s 41st prime minister, replacing Jacinda Ardern, who announced her resignation on Thursday.
Chris Hipkins, 44, was the only candidate for the post and confirmation of his election at a meeting of 64 Labor MPs was largely a formality. Hipkins’ appointment as party leader and prime minister followed the surprise resignation of Ardern, who on Thursday announced she “didn’t have enough energy” to go on. She was the head of the government for 5.5 years.
“Privilege” and “Responsibility”. Newly elected prime minister is ‘excited by challenge’
“This is the greatest privilege and the greatest responsibility of my life,” Hipkins said at a press conference. “I’m full of energy and excited about the challenge ahead of me,” he added.
He also appreciated the leadership of the outgoing prime minister, whom he called one of New Zealand’s greatest prime ministers and an inspiration to women and girls around the world. “She gave a voice to those who were often overlooked in times of challenge, and deliberately dealt with politics differently,” he said.
Carmel Sepuloni will become deputy prime minister. The 46-year-old politician is from the Pacific region and currently lives in Auckland. It deals with, among others, social development and employment as well as arts, culture and heritage. Hipkins said he would introduce the other cabinet members later.
Supporter of restrictions
Hipkins was first elected to Parliament in 2008. In recent years, he has become known as a staunch supporter of introducing strict coronavirus restrictions, thanks to which New Zealand escaped the sudden outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19. As Minister of Health in 2020, he was Andern’s right hand in the effective fight against coronavirus, which included closing borders to foreign travelers for over two years.
Before Hipkins officially becomes Prime Minister, Ardern must submit his resignation to Governor General Cindy Kiro, acting on behalf of the British King Charles III. The latter will then appoint Hipkins as head of government, after which the swearing-in will take place.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/BEN MCKAY