New Zealand’s ruling Labor Party has named Chris Hipkins as the country’s prime minister after Jacinda Ardern announced she was stepping down as prime minister on Thursday.
Hipkins, 44, is currently Minister of Education and previously led the country’s COVID-19 response. He is expected to receive formal approval for the acquisition from his Labor colleagues on Sunday.
“This process will still take some time,” Hipkins said at a media briefing on Saturday after the party nominated him as the sole candidate.
“I would like to thank them for the way they handled the process. I think we are an incredibly strong team. Together we have gone through this process and will continue to do so.” he added.
Hipkins told reporters that a cabinet reshuffle would take place, but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson would be able to retain his position as finance minister in the new government. report.
Robertson Posted Posting a photo with Ardern on his Instagram account, congratulating Hipkins on the nomination, Hipkins said, referring to his 15 years of experience in politics, that he has “been there in good times and bad.”
“He is experienced and deeply rooted in worker values. When you think of him, one of the first things that comes to mind is that he is a great father. ‘s care and affection is something I admire very much.He would make a great leader and prime minister,” he wrote.
Hipkins will hold the role just over eight months before contesting the general election.
In addition to holding an education portfolio, Hipkins is Minister of Police and Public Service and leader of the House of Commons. He is known as a political troubleshooter who has taken on various roles to try and solve problems caused by other lawmakers.
Hipkins is seen as more of a centrist than the leftist Ardern, and colleagues hope he will appeal to a wide range of voters. One of his biggest challenges during an election year is convincing voters that his party is managing the economy well.
Ardern, 42, who was elected prime minister in 2017, said she was stepping down because there was “not enough money left” for her next four-year term.
“With such a privileged role comes responsibility, so I am leaving,” she said at the Labor caucuses in Napier. responsibility.”
She has left behind a mixed legacy, and many have admired her empathy as prime minister as she responds to events such as the Christchurch massacre that left 51 dead at two mosques in March 2019. doing.
But her legacy has been tarnished by the government’s COVID-19 response. Between 2021 and her 2022, New Zealanders have rallied in thousands over government-mandated lockdowns, stringent vaccine mandates and quarantine measures.
Stephen Hoadley, assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, believes Ardern could be used by the United Nations and other organizations given her wealth of experience and prominence.
“She has the potential, the ability, the profile, the receptivity to do a lot of things,” Hoadley told The AP. Take my word for it, but I think by the end of this year, she’ll be off and running a whole new career line.”
Victoria Kelly-Clark and Associated Press contributed to this report.