Condolences were expressed after outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she would step down by early February and would not seek re-election.
Ardern’s stunning announcement on Thursday that she would remain New Zealand’s prime minister with “no more gas in the tank” was first a surprise, then praise from fellow politicians and supporters at home and abroad.
Arden, 42, said her five-and-a-half years as prime minister had been difficult, she was just human and now needed to step down.
“Politicians are human too. We do what we can, we do what we can, and then it’s time. For me, it’s time,” she said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led a speech by Australian politicians praising Ardern for leading her country with a combination of wisdom and strength.
“She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities,” Albanese tweeted.
“Jacinda has been a strong supporter of New Zealand, an inspiration to many and a great friend of mine.”
Jacinda Ardern showed the world how to lead with wisdom and strength.
She demonstrates that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.
Jacinda has been a strong supporter of New Zealand, an inspiration to many and a great friend of mine. pic.twitter.com/QJ64mNCJMI
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 19, 2023
In her resignation statement, Ardern said she resigned not because the job was hard, but because she believed others could do it better.
She made it a point to tell her daughter, Neve, that she was looking forward to being there when school started this year, and to tell her longtime partner, Clark Gayford, that it was time for them to get married.
“You can’t be someone you can’t see,” Australia’s Minister for Finance, Women and Human Services Katy Gallagher wrote, noting that Ardern set an example for a generation of young women who have seen She has been blessed with “strength, empathy and grace”.
You can’t be someone you can’t see.
I am delighted that a generation of young women will be able to watch Jacinda Ardern lead New Zealand with strength, empathy and grace.
Wishing her and her family all the best as they begin the next chapter.
— Katie Gallagher (@SenKatyG) January 19, 2023
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Ardern for her strength, compassion and empathy, and thanked her for her partnership and friendship over the years.
“The difference you’ve made is immeasurable. I wish you and your family all the best, my friend,” Trudeau tweeted.
thanks, @JacindaArdern, thank you for your partnership and friendship — and for your empathetic, compassionate, strong and steady leadership over the past few years. The difference you make is immeasurable. I hope you and your family are well, my friend. pic.twitter.com/72Q5p9GZzg
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 19, 2023
Angela Pratt, the World Health Organization’s representative in Vietnam, tweeted: “Prime Minister Ardern, thank you for doing so much, especially for making kindness and empathy cool again.”
Political commentator Ben Thomas said Ardern’s announcement came as a surprise, as opinion polls still rank her as the country’s most popular prime minister, even as support for her party has fallen from its peak during the 2020 general election.
Thomas said there was no clear successor.
First elected in 2017, Ardern became a sensation on the global stage because of her gender and youth, coining the term “Jacinda-mania”.
Her empathetic leadership style was cemented in her response to the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques in 2019, which killed 51 people and injured 40 others.
Ardern was quick to label the attack “terrorism” and donned a hijab to meet the Muslim community a day after the attack, telling them the entire country was “united in grief”. She promised and implemented major gun law reform within a month.
Australia’s climate change and energy minister Chris Bowen said Ardern had “led her country through one of its toughest days ever”.
“She inspired people around the world with her calm, confident, aggressive and strong leadership,” Bowen tweeted.
She led her country through one of the toughest days ever.
She has inspired people around the world with her calm, confident, aggressive and steady leadership.
It has been a pleasure working with Jacinda Ardern and her government. All the best for the future! pic.twitter.com/evEuhCnaUZ
— Chris Bowen (@Bowenchris) January 19, 2023
Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said it was during some of the most turbulent times in the world and New Zealand since World War II, including the Christchurch mosque attacks, the White Island volcanic eruption in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You left a legacy of real leadership,” Brown said, according to New Zealand’s Stuff news outlet.
Ardern has won political praise for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which New Zealand has faced some of the strictest measures in the world but has one of the lowest death tolls.
But Ardern also faces growing anger at home from opponents of the coronavirus mandate and rules.
Protests that began last year on parliamentary grounds lasted more than three weeks before demonstrators were forced to leave. The heat surrounding the coronavirus debate has led to vitriol against Ardern, rare among former New Zealand leaders. She was forced to cancel her annual barbecue due to safety concerns.
Her popularity has waned over the past year as inflation has risen to near three-decade highs and the country has grown politically divided over issues such as government reforms to water infrastructure and the introduction of an agricultural discharge scheme. Big.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, a member of New Zealand’s parliament and co-leader of the Te Pati Maori political movement, said Ardern’s resignation was a “sad day in politics”.
“This is a sad day for politics, with an outstanding leader being ousted from office through constant personalization and slander,” Ngarewa-Packer said.
“Her family member [family] Over the past two years, we have weathered the ugliest attacks in what we believe to be the most degrading form of politics we have ever seen,” she said.
Gerald Butts, a Canadian political consultant and vice-chairman of the Eurasia Group, said Ardern’s departure was “like she led: honest, empathetic, on her own terms. Bravo ran great.”
Ardern left as she led: honestly, compassionately and on her own terms. great. https://t.co/oKzaAHbfYN
— Gerald Butts (@gmbutts) January 19, 2023
The ruling Labor Party will vote on a new leader on Sunday. The new party leader will serve as prime minister until the next general election.
Ardern’s term is due to end on February 7 at the latest, with a general election to be held on October 14.
Today, current Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern announced her intention to step down as Prime Minister by February 7, 2023. But what does this mean for parliament, and how will a new prime minister be elected? Read more 👇 https://t.co/kFBuQIVYyc
— New Zealand Parliament (@NZParliament) January 19, 2023