New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made the shock announcement that she will be resigning from her position, claiming that she “no longer” has “that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice”.
Ardern fought back tears as she made the announcement on Thursday, January 19, revealing that her final day in the position will be Tuesday, February 7.
“Being Prime Minister has been the greatest honour of my life and I want to thank New Zealanders for the enormous privilege of leading the country for the last five and a half years,” Ardern began.
“With holding such a privileged role comes responsibility, including the responsibility to know when you’re the right person to lead, and also when you’re not.
“I have given my absolute all to being Prime Minister but it has also taken a lot out of me. You cannot and should not do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unplanned and unexpected challenges that inevitably come along.
“Having reflected over summer I know I no longer have that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice. It’s that simple.
“I have spoken to the Governor-General this morning to let her know.
“In addition to our ambitious agenda that has sought to address long term issues like the housing crisis, child poverty and climate change, we also had to respond to a major biosecurity incursion, a domestic terror attack, a volcanic eruption and a one in one hundred year global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. The decisions that had to be made have been constant and weighty.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the last five years in spite of the many challenges thrown at us. We’ve turned around child poverty statistics and made the most significant increases in welfare support and public housing stock seen in many decades.
“We’ve made it easier to access education and training while improving the pay and conditions of workers. And we’ve worked hard to make progress on issues around our national identify – I believe that teaching our history in schools and celebrating Matariki as our own indigenous national holiday will all make a difference for years to come.
“And we’ve done that while responding to some of the biggest threats to the health and economic wellbeing of New Zealanders, arguably since World War Two.
“The Labour team are incredibly well placed to contest the next election. They are the most experienced team in the country and have shown they have the skills necessary to respond to whatever comes their way.
“I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election, but because I believe Labour can and will win it. We need a fresh set of shoulders for the challenges of both this year and the next three.
“As to my time in the job, I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go.”
Following the shock announcement, fellow high profile figures took to social media to reflect on Ardern’s impressive political career while wishing her all the best.
Jacinda Ardern has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.
She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.
Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me. pic.twitter.com/QJ64mNCJMI
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 19, 2023
I mean, I understand but…
Wish you all the best you fabulous woman!
You have raised the bar in terms of humane leadership
Your strength kindness and humour a gift to us all
Thank you ????????❤️ https://t.co/PTxTYagyLo
— Magda Szubanski AO (@MagdaSzubanski) January 19, 2023
Jacinda Ardern showed the world that a small country could be a leader internationally; a leader in decency and in building bridges between people, cultures and religions at home and abroad.She also deserves enormous credit for her government’s management of the Covid 19 crisis.
— Mike Rann (@Mike_Rann) January 19, 2023
#PrimeMinister @jacindaardern resigned today. I am not surprised nor do I blame her. Her treatment, the pile on, in the last few months has been disgraceful and embarrassing. All the bullies, the misogynists, the aggrieved. She deserved so much better. A great leader. Thanks PM! pic.twitter.com/7b1AhjBXrW
— Sam Neill (@TwoPaddocks) January 19, 2023
When asked how she would like her leadership remembered, Jacinda Ardern responded “As someone who always tried to be kind.”
She was a bright light amidst the darkness of politics. Her legacy will inspire women and girls for generations. Thank you, Jacinda. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/WI3f92Iy52
— Yasmin Poole (@yasmin_poole) January 19, 2023
Ardern has served as the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017.
She joined the Labour Party at the age of 17 after graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, where she worked as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Ardern was first elected as an MP in the 2008 general election, when Labour lost power after nine years. She was later elected to represent the Mount Albert electorate in a by-election on February 25, 2017.
Ardern was unanimously elected as deputy leader of the Labour Party on March 1 2017, following the resignation of Annette King. A mere five months later, Labour’s leader Andrew Little resigned after a low opinion polling for the party, with Ardern elected unopposed as leader in his place
Labour saw a considerable rise in popularity after Ardern became leader, she led her party to gain 14 seats at the 2017 general election on September 23, winning 46 seats to the National Party’s 56.