Chris Hipkins has been sworn in as New Zealand’s 41st prime minister, a week after Jacinda Ardern’s resignation. The 44-year-old was formally appointed to the role in Wellington.
Hipkins built a reputation as the minister who led New Zealand’s COVID strategy.
At the ruling Labour Party’s caucus over the weekend, Hipkins received unanimous support to be promoted to lead the country, and now faces the uphill task of retaining power in the upcoming general elections in October.
Ardern, 42, had said she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead the country. The country’s governor-general Cindy Kiro accepted her formal resignation on Wednesday.
Ardern had said that her term would end by February 7, when she expects a new Labour prime minister will be sworn in – though “depending on the process that could be earlier.”
“The decision was my own,” Ardern said. “Leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also the most challenging. 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.”
“I no longer have enough in the tank to do the job justice,” she added.
When Ardern became prime minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she was New Zealand’s third female leader and one of the youngest leaders in the world.