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Jacinda Ardern replaced as New Zealand PM at official ceremony – Asia and Pacific

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Wellington ●
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

2023-01-25
07:47
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Asia and Pacific
Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins, New Zealand, Prime Minister
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Jacinda Ardern was officially replaced as New Zealand’s prime minister on Wednesday after stunning the country by announcing her abrupt resignation last week.

New Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, 44, was sworn in by the Governor General of New Zealand during a ceremony in the capital city of Wellington.

After officially taking office, Hipkins said, “This is the greatest privilege and responsibility of my life.

“I am energized and excited for the challenges ahead.”

Prime Minister Ardern said last week that she no longer has “enough room for tanks” after navigating the country through natural disasters, the worst terrorist attacks in history and the COVID-19 pandemic.

She made her final public appearance as prime minister early Wednesday, exiting the distinctive Beehive Houses of Parliament to a spontaneous applause from hundreds of onlookers.

Prince William was one of the first to congratulate Ardern, who has become a global icon of progressive politics during her five-year tenure.

“Jacinda Ardern, thank you for your friendship, leadership and support over the years, especially during my grandmother’s death,” he wrote on his official Twitter account.

Folk singer Yusuf “Cat” Stevens, who performed a concert to commemorate the 51 deaths in the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre, also praised Ardern.

He said on Twitter that Ardern had “united the New Zealand people after the terrorist attacks in Christchurch”.

After being first elected prime minister in 2017, Ardern rode the wave of “Jacindamania” and secured a second term in 2020 with a landslide victory.

decline in popularity

But her centre-left government has struggled more and more over the past two years, hampered by soaring inflation, a looming recession and a resurgent conservative opposition.

A key figure in New Zealand’s pandemic response, Hipkins is tasked with restoring the government’s declining popularity ahead of October’s general elections.

Nicknamed “Chippy,” the father of two comes from a working-class background who loves sausage rolls and biking to work, and describes himself as “a regular kiwi.”

“COVID-19 and the global pandemic have created a health crisis. Now it’s creating an economic crisis and that’s where my government’s focus is,” Hipkins previously said.

Hipkins also condemned the “utterly abhorrent” social media abuse directed at Ardern, which intensified during the years she was prime minister.

But Ardern said on Tuesday that she “hates” her resignation to be seen as “a negative comment about New Zealand”.

“I am leaving with gratitude for the many years I have had the privilege of playing this wonderful role,” she said.

Ardern will continue to appear in Congress, but has announced her intention to step back from the daily cuts and thrusts of politics.

She also plans to marry partner Clark Gayford, a television personality who hosts a popular fishing show, and said she is looking forward to taking her daughter, Neve, to school. rice field.


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