As New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern rose to become a worldwide liberal hero. However, she faced mounting political issues with an election coming at home. On Thursday, she made the unexpected decision that she would stand down as the leader of the nation.
She made this statement during a sad address in the city of Napier, New Zealand, which was the location of the summer caucus retreat that Ms. Ardern’s Labour Party was sponsoring. She added that she did not feel personally prepared to serve another term. According to her statement, her last day in office will be February 7.
According to Ms. Ardern, “I believe that governing a country is the most privileged job one could ever have, but also one of the most difficult.” The guy said, “Unless you have a full tank and a small bit of reserve for those unanticipated difficulties, you cannot and should not do it.”
She went on to say, “The last five and a half years have been the most gratifying of my life.” I have decided to leave since such a prestigious profession comes with a significant amount of responsibilities.
Ms. Ardern has said that over the next three days, Labour legislators will vote on a new candidate to head the party and the nation.
Ms. Ardern, who is 42 years old, became prime minister in 2017 and won a historic re-election victory in 2020. This was largely due to the strength of New Zealand’s response to the COVID pandemic, which enabled residents to live a life that was largely normal for the majority of the duration of the pandemic. Since then, however, her party has seen a significant drop in the polls as a result of economic difficulties and several publicly publicized episodes of violent crime.
Ms. Ardern quickly became something of a worldwide celebrity shortly after her improbable ascent to the position of New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in more than a century and a half. She became a mother while she was serving in this position, and she took her daughter with her to the United Nations. She became a refreshing contrast to the politics that were being represented in the United States at the time by Donald J. Trump, who was serving as President at the time, and she won many fans as a result.
But it was her reaction in 2019 to the slaughter of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch by a shooter spewing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that cemented her position as a hero of the global left. The perpetrator was a white nationalist with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments. “We are here to symbolize love, diversity, and compassion. A haven for individuals who have the same beliefs as ourselves. “A haven for people who are in need,” was what she had to say about New Zealand at the time. Within a week, Ms. Ardern had established temporary limitations on the purchase of firearms, and then, a few weeks later, a bill was passed that prohibited the majority of semiautomatic weapons. Both of these events occurred simultaneously.
Ms. Ardern said that she had already notified members of the party early on Thursday about her plan to step down as leader. She said that she will continue to serve as a member of Parliament for her constituency in the city of Auckland until April to prevent a by-election from being necessary.
Ahead of the election on October 14, Labour has been confronted with significant political obstacles. The party has been behind in the polls behind the National Party, which is on the center-right of the political spectrum and is headed by Christopher Luxon, a former airline executive. As of December, support for Labour was at 33 percent, and support for the National Party stood at 38 percent.
The myriad of economic challenges that the nation is now facing is the primary concern of voters. In New Zealand, home prices, which had been on an upward trend during the previous decade, saw a decline of 12 percent in 2022. Borrowers, the majority of whom are only able to lock in their mortgage rate for a few years at a time, are at a high risk of negative equity as they attempt to balance a high cost of living and surging inflation with the twin catastrophes of falling home prices and rising interest rates. Most borrowers are only able to lock in their mortgage rate for a few years at a time.
A feeling of discontent has also been added to by what is seen to be an increase in the rate of violent crime. This is shown by high-profile events in which workers of corner shops have been assaulted, and in one case, murdered.
Ben Thomas, a political pundit, and a former press secretary for the National Party, said that many New Zealanders would be taken aback by Jacinda Ardern’s decision to step down as Prime Minister and that it might be catastrophic for Labour.
Ms. Ardern follows closely in the footsteps of a recent predecessor, John Key, who resigned in 2016, allowing his deputy, Bill English, to take his place as leader of the National Party and prime minister. In her decision to step down almost a year before a general election, Ms. Ardern follows closely in the footsteps of John Key.
However, there is no apparent candidate to succeed Ms. Ardern in her position. Ms. Ardern has said that the current deputy leader of Labour, Grant Robertson, will not be running for the leadership position. The requirement that any candidate for the leadership of Labour must have the support of at least two-thirds of its lawmakers raises the possibility of a power vacuum, prolonged infighting, and the leadership of the country and the party being taken over by a relative newcomer, at least in the eyes of the voters.