Jacinda Ardern resigns: Sam Neill defends New Zealand’s PM against ‘crazy people’

Jacinda Ardern resigns: Sam Neill defends New Zealand’s PM against ‘crazy people’

Kiwi actor Sam Neill has passionately defended Jacinda Ardern hours after she stepped down as New Zealand PM.

The 42-year-old, her country’s youngest-ever leader, shocked the nation and the world on Thursday when she announced her retirement and admitted she “don’t have enough in the tank left” to do the job.

The 75-year-old Jurassic Park actor took to Instagram after the news broke and said he “don’t blame Ardern” for quitting, adding that New Zealand “deserves a worse leader” for the way its citizens have treated them during their tenure.

Kiwi actor Sam Neill (pictured in Spain on October 11, 2019) has passionately defended Jacinda Ardern hours after she stepped down as New Zealand Prime Minister

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned today. I am neither surprised nor do I blame her,” he wrote.

“The treatment she has received in recent months, the appalling accumulation from the left, the right, the aggrieved, the whiners, the cranks, the know-it-alls, the misogynists, etc., has been both shameful and embarrassing.

“I think she was a great leader in the most difficult of times. She deserves better. And we get what we deserve: inferior leadership.

“Personally, I will miss her. And thank her. And wish her a much happier future.”

The 42-year-old, her country's youngest prime minister, shocked the nation and the world on Thursday when she announced her resignation

The 42-year-old, her country’s youngest prime minister, shocked the nation and the world on Thursday when she announced her resignation

The Event Horizon star is a longtime Ardern supporter and previously said the whole world wants a Prime Minister like her.

“So much admiration for my PM. Everywhere you go these days people say they wish they had a leader like her. PM envy — that’s one thing,” he said in 2019.

Ardern’s resignation will take effect on Sunday if the Labor Party can vote that day to choose his successor, or on February 7 if the process is prolonged.

Mrs Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford pose with their baby daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford outside the hospital in Auckland June 28, 2018

Mrs Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford pose with their baby daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford outside the hospital in Auckland June 28, 2018

Ms Ardern said she was hoping to find the energy and heart to stay in the job over the Christmas holidays “but I couldn’t do it”.

“When I realized I hadn’t done it, I knew that unfortunately there was no alternative but to surrender now,” she said at the Labor Party’s traditional January caucus meeting in Napier on Thursday.

‘I am human. Politicians are people. We give everything we can while we can – and then it’s time. And for me it’s time.

The Jurassic Park actor, 75, said he

The Jurassic Park actor, 75, said he “don’t blame” Ardern for quitting, adding that New Zealand “deserves a worse leader” for the way its citizens treated them during their tenure

“I know what this job requires. And I know I don’t have enough left in the tank to do it justice.

“I’m leaving because with such a privileged job comes great responsibility. The responsibility of knowing when you’re the right person to lead—and when you’re not.

“I gave everything to be prime minister, but it also took a lot out of me. You can and should only do the job when you have a full tank and a little reserve for the unplanned and unexpected challenges that are inevitable.

Ms Ardern imposed some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the world, only allowing visitors in less than a year ago

Ms Ardern imposed some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the world, only allowing visitors in less than a year ago

“Having thought about the summer, I know I no longer have that extra something in the tank to do the job justice. As simple as that.’

Ms Ardern is stepping down at just 42 after becoming leader on 26 October 2017, just over five years ago, and was New Zealand’s youngest-ever Prime Minister and before that, in 2008 at 28, the youngest sitting MP.

Ms Ardern has faced relentless criticism for imposing some of the world’s toughest Covid restrictions, including lockdowns that have left New Zealanders unable to even buy takeaway food and a border closure for more than two years.

But she denied that the constant attacks, which continued last year as the economy faltered and the cost of living rose, played a role in her decision.

Ms Ardern reveals the Covid alert levels that led to some of the world's toughest restrictions as she closed the country's borders on March 21, 2020

Ms Ardern reveals the Covid alert levels that led to some of the world’s toughest restrictions as she closed the country’s borders on March 21, 2020

“I don’t go because it’s hard … I know when I’ve got enough in the tank to do it justice. I would be doing the New Zealanders a disservice if I continued,” she said.

The retiring prime minister was asked if she would take up a role at the UN after leaving office and gave no clear answer.

“That was my whole focus, as you can see from the fact that you were unaware of (my resignation) so (the UN) wasn’t my focus,” she said.

“My focus has been this decision to support the Labor team in this next phase.”

Instead, she insisted she had “no plans” other than relaxing with her daughter Neve and marrying her fiancé Clarke Gayford after their wedding was canceled due to Covid restrictions.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with my family again … so Neve is looking forward to it, mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year and to Clarke, let’s finally get married,” she said.

Ms Ardern said she has yet to tell her daughter about her plans because “four-year-olds are talkative, I couldn’t take the risk”.

Jacinda Ardern’s resignation speech

“Being Prime Minister has been the greatest honor of my life and I would like to thank the people of New Zealand for the tremendous privilege of leading the country over the past five and a half years.

“With such a privileged role comes responsibility, including the responsibility of knowing when you are the right person to lead and when you are not.

“I gave everything to be prime minister, but it also took a lot out of me. You can and should only do the job when you have a full tank and a little reserve for the unplanned and unexpected challenges that are inevitable.

“Having thought about the summer, I know I no longer have that extra something in the tank to do the job justice. As simple as that.

“I spoke to the governor-general this morning to let her know.

“In addition to our ambitious agenda aimed at tackling long-term problems like the housing crisis, child poverty and climate change, we also had to respond to a major biosecurity attack, a domestic terrorist attack, a volcanic eruption and a one-on-one attack centennial global pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. The decisions that had to be made were constant and serious.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the past five years despite many challenges. We have turned the child poverty statistics around and achieved the largest increases in welfare and public housing in many decades.

“We have made education and training easier to access, while improving workers’ pay and working conditions. And we’ve worked hard to make progress on issues surrounding our national identity – I believe teaching our history in schools and celebrating Matariki as our own indigenous national holiday will make a difference in the years to come.

“And we have done so while responding to some of the greatest threats to the health and economic well-being of New Zealanders, arguably since the Second World War.

“The Labor team is incredibly well placed to run in the next election. They are the most experienced team in the country and have shown they have the skills to respond to anything that comes their way.

“I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election, but because I believe Labor can and will win it. We need new shoulders for the challenges of this and the next three years.

“As for my time on the job, I hope to leave New Zealanders believing that you can be kind but strong, empathetic but determined, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go.”