Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on 19 January 2023 at the War Memorial in Napier, New Zealand that she would not be seeking re-election.
Kelly Marshall | Getty Images News | Getty Images
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a shocking announcement on Thursday that she was “no longer in the tank” to continue leading the country, and will step down by early February at the latest and will not seek re-election.
Holding back tears, Ardern said that her five and a half years as prime minister had been difficult, and that she was just a human being and had to resign.
Ardern, 42, said at a press conference, “This summer, I wanted to find a way to not only prepare for another year, but for the next semester.
“I know there’s a lot of debate about what the so-called ‘real’ reason was after this decision. The only interesting angle you’ll find is that after six years of some big challenges, I am human,” she continued. “Politicians are human. We do the best we can, and it’s time. And for me, it’s time.
The New Zealand Labor Party’s ruling party vote to choose a new leader will take place on Sunday. The party leader becomes prime minister until the next general election. Ardern’s term will end on February 7 at the latest, and a general election will be held on October 14.
Ardern said he believed Labor would win the next election.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement that he would not be the next Labor leader.
Political commentator Ben Thomas said Ardern’s announcement meant that despite a drop in support for her party from the stratospheric heights seen during the 2020 election, polls still put her out of the country. He said it was a big surprise because he had ranked him as the preferred prime minister of Japan.
Thomas said there was no clear successor.
Ardern said he didn’t resign because the job was hard, but because he believed others could do a better job.
She told daughter Neve that she was looking forward to being there when she started school this year, and told longtime partner Clark Gayford that it was time to get married.
Her first election made a huge impact on the world stage as she coined the term “Jacinda Mania” because of her gender and youth.