“Not enough in the tank”: New Zealand Prime Minister resigns

“Not enough in the tank”: New Zealand Prime Minister resigns

The head of government was obviously referring to the upcoming parliamentary elections in October and the subsequent legislative period. She wants to remain a deputy until the election. In her speech, the 42-year-old politician fought back tears at times. She has been prime minister for six years. It was a tough time. You haven’t found a way to prepare for another year and another term.

However, she does not resign because the post of prime minister is difficult, but believes that others could do better. She told her four-year-old daughter, Neve, that she would be there when she started school and that it was also time for her to marry her longtime partner, Clarke Gayford, Ardern said. Wedding plans have been thwarted by the CoV pandemic.

Ardern: “Not enough left in the tank”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has surprisingly announced her resignation. “I know what it takes for this job and I know I don’t have enough left in the tank. It’s so simple,” she explained, visibly emotional. “We all give as much as we can and then it’s over. And for me, now is the time.” When she was elected Prime Minister in 2017, Ardern became one of the youngest women in the world to lead a government at the age of 37.

“Someone who knows when it’s time to go”

“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,” said Ardern. You also need a bit of reserve for unplanned and unexpected challenges. She hopes she has given New Zealanders a belief that they can be their own kind of leader: “Someone who knows when it’s time to go.”

There will be much discussion about the “so-called real reason” after this decision, Ardern said: “The only interesting aspect you will find is that after six years of great challenges, I am a human being. Politicians are people.” On Sunday, Labor will elect a new party leader, who will serve as interim prime minister until elections in October. Grant Robertson, deputy leader of the party and Treasury secretary, has already declined. He will not run for the post.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with baby at UN General Assembly 2018

Portal/Carlo Allegri Ardern took his daughter to the UN General Assembly in 2018

rapid rise

Ardern was considered popular and also had an international focus. She was also on the cover of British Vogue and Time magazine. The politician went from deputy opposition leader to prime minister in just a few months in 2017 – at just 37 years old. With the birth of her daughter in 2018, she became only the second head of government to give birth to a child during her term – after Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan in 1990.

Arden received recognition above all for his particularly sensitive crisis management, whether during the CoV pandemic or after the March 2019 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch which claimed 51 lives. On the occasion, she gave a moving speech and wore a scarf on her head as a sign of solidarity with the Muslim community.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wearing a headscarf after the Christchurch terror attack

AP/Vincent Thian Following the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, Ardern gave an emotional speech while wearing a headscarf

Popularity ratings have dropped

The Ardern government has responded to the pandemic with one of the strictest curfews in the world and a lockdown of the country for foreign visitors. At the end of 2021, however, Ardern had to give up the Covid zero strategy. Dissatisfaction with CoV regulations, which were also directed against Ardern and his government, also grew in New Zealand. Last year, for example, a protest on the premises of parliament lasted more than three weeks – with violent clashes between protesters and police. At the end of last year, she announced a royal commission of inquiry to find out whether the government had taken the right decisions in the fight against Covid-19.

Ardern was still considered the prime minister’s choice, but had to cancel an annual barbecue she hosted due to security concerns. In the recent past, however, Ardern’s and her party’s popularity ratings have plummeted. Although she won re-election to the Labor Party two years ago in a landslide of historic proportions, the party trails the Conservatives in recent polls.

Limits of Kindness

Concrete advances were achieved during his mandate in the fight against child poverty, in the employment rate and in the increase of the minimum wage. Efforts to tackle the housing crisis and reduce emissions have been less successful. Limited tax revenues and spending also limit the government’s ability to engage in large social programs.

“When it came to crafting and implementing complex laws or challenging legislative reforms, progress was much, much slower,” political commentator and member of Ardern’s previous government, Ben Thomas, told the Guardian. “The idea of ​​kindness and empathy can reach its limits because politics is often about compromise.”

“Empathy and Perception”

In any case, the politician firmly rejected speculation that the resignation was related to poll numbers: “I’m not going because I don’t think we can win the next election – but because I think we can and will.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese gave Ardern roses in his initial Twitter reaction. She showed the world how to lead with intellect and strength. She showed that empathy and insight make for powerful leaders.” For Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ardern has made an “immeasurable” difference in the world.