While most of us probably don’t know every single politician in the world, there are definitely a few “big names” that all of us have heard of before.
Like Jacinda Arden, New Zealand’s Prime Minister.
As the youngest female in the world to be elected as a head of government, Ms Arden took office in 2017 when she was 37 and has held the title of New Zealand’s Prime Minister ever since.
However, despite beliefs that she would continue as Prime Minister in the upcoming years, Ms Arden announced her resignation today (19 January) during the Labour Party’s caucus meeting in Napier.
She also addressed this issue on her Facebook page.
With the news being a shock to people and government figures worldwide, here’s why she’s resigning and what other politicians think about her resignation.
Resigning as She Has “No More In the Tank”
During her announcement, she explained that she decided to step down as her Country’s Prime Minister as she has “no more in the tank” to carry on after five and a half years.
“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple,” she mentioned.
She also revealed that she had “hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term” in the summer. However, she was ultimately unable to find it in her to do so.
Apart from that, Ms Arden, who was teary-eyed during the announcement, acknowledged the impact that being such an important political figure can have on an individual and said that it took a significant toll on her.
“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,” she said.
In addition, she emphasised that she ultimately chose to step down not because of how difficult the job is. Rather, she thinks that someone else can fulfil the job scope better than she can.
Not Leaving Because of Fall in Support
Besides that, Ms Arden also highlighted that the decrease in voters’ support was not why she left.
“I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election, but because I believe we can and will, and we need a fresh set of shoulders for that challenge,” she mentioned.
As for how the decline in support has affected her, she added, “I don’t want to leave the impression that the adversity you face in politics is the reason that people exit. Yes, it does have an impact. We are humans[,] after all, but that was not the basis of my decision.”
She also said, “I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so-called ‘real’ reason was… The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human.
“Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Regarding the end of her term, she will conclude her stint as the Prime Minister of New Zealand by early February this year, no later than 7 February.
However, she will continue to hold her role as a Member of Parliament until April, so a by-election will not need to be held.
“My opportunity to thank the many people I need to, will likely come in April when I depart Parliament, 15 years after having been sworn in,” she added.
Afterwards, New Zealand’s next election will be held later this year. Currently, the election is scheduled to be on 14 October.
When talking about the upcoming election in October, Ms Arden expressed her support for the Labour Party, saying that she is confident that the party will win again.
Hopes to be Seen as a Kind Person
In her Facebook post, she expressed her gratitude towards her people “for giving [her] this opportunity to serve, and to take on what has and will always be the greatest role in [her] life”.
“I hope in return I leave behind a belief that you can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive. Optimistic, but focused.
“That you can be your own kind of leader – one that knows when it’s time to go,” she concluded.
Plans for the Future
As for what plans she has lined up for herself after leaving office, Ms Arden added that she currently has no plans other than to spend more time with her family.
She said that Clarke Gayford, her long-time partner and fiancé, as well as her daughter, Neve, are the ones who have “sacrificed the most out of all of us” and expressed her hopes to be around them more.
Ms Arden added that she is looking forward to “being there” when her daughter, whom she gave birth to while in office, begins school this year.
Additionally, she said, “And to Clarke – let’s finally get married.”
Who Will Replace Her
As for who will replace her, it seems like the Labour Party has yet to come to a consensus.
However, the Labour Caucus in New Zealand will have to see if any caucus member can garner the support of more than two-thirds of the caucus within seven days.
If they are able to do so, the individual who holds that support will be elected as New Zealand’s Prime Minister and the new leader of the Labour Party. The individual will hold these titles until the election in October.
If they fail to do so, other members of the Labour Party can also run for Prime Minister after the caucus vote.
The caucus will cast their votes on Sunday (22 January).
As for who’s in the running, it’s still unclear as of now.
However, one name’s definitely out of the running: Grant Robertson, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr Robertson, who is also the country’s finance minister, issued a statement clarifying that he will not be running for the title of Labour Party’s next leader.
As for Ben Thomas, a political commentator, he pointed out that there is “no clear successor” for Ms Arden’s position.
He also expressed his shock at her resignation and said that people still voted her as New Zealand’s “Preferred Prime Minister”, even if her popularity has decreased as compared to her prime.
Politicians’ Response to Her Resignation
After Ms Arden announced her resignation, many New Zealand politicians commented on her move and thanked her for her contributions to the country.
One such politician was Mr Christopher Luxon, the Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand.
Mr Luxon, who heads the National Party, mentioned, “She has given her all to this incredibly demanding job[,] and I wish her and her family all the very best for the future. Thank you[,] Jacinda.”
As for Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Education Minister, he also spoke highly of Ms Arden.
He mentioned, “Jacinda has been a voice of calm, kind reassurance and strength.
“I can think of no better person to have led us through the past five and a half years[,] and I totally respect her decision to stand aside.”
He also said that he is looking forward to hearing from Ms Arden but will give her “some time to recharge” first.
As for Anthony Albanest, Australia’s Prime Minister, he took to social media to express his respect for Ms Arden.
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
In a Tweet, he wrote, “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.”
More About Arden’s Impact on Politics
When Ms Arden was first elected as New Zealand’s Prime Minister, her gender and young age caused her to gain widespread attention across the globe.
The term “Jacinda-mania” was even created to describe her impact.
Since then, she has led New Zealand through various obstacles and disasters, such as the 2019 terror attack in Christchurch and the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.
Regarding the terror attack caused by an anti-immigrant supporter who entered two mosques and killed 51 people, she said, “We represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.”
However, her support gradually declined in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, such as a poor economic outlook and a higher cost of living.
Various incidents, such as violent crimes and her reactions to them, also caused some Kiwis to withdraw their support for her.
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