(Picture caption: The Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern formally apologised on behalf of the New Zealand Government to Pacific communities impacted by the Dawn Raids, during her time as Prime Minister.)
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down from the role, and that of leader of the Labour Party.
Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister, no later than February 7, 2023.
Prime Minister Ardern says being in the role has been the greatest honour of her life.
“I want to thank New Zealanders for the enormous privilege of leading the country for the last five and a half years,” Prime Minister Ardern says.
“With holding such a privileged role comes responsibility, including the responsibility to know when you’re the right person to lead, and also when you’re not,” she adds.
“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.
“Having reflected over summer I know I no longer have that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice - it is that simple.”
The Prime Minister adds that in addition to the Government’s ambitious agenda that has sought to address long term issues like the housing crisis, child poverty and climate change, it also had to respond to a major biosecurity incursion, a domestic terror attack, a volcanic eruption and a one in one-hundred-year global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
“The decisions that had to be made have been constant and weighty.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the last five years in spite of the many challenges thrown at us.”
Under her reign, the Government has turned around child poverty statistics and made the most significant increases in welfare support and public housing stock seen in many decades, she says.
“We’ve made it easier to access education and training while improving the pay and conditions of workers, and we’ve worked hard to make progress on issues around our national identify - I believe that teaching our history in schools and celebrating Matariki as our own indigenous national holiday will all make a difference for years to come.
“We’ve done that while responding to some of the biggest threats to the health and economic wellbeing of New Zealanders, arguably since World War Two.”
Prime Minister Ardern says she hopes to leave New Zealanders with a belief they can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused.
“And that you can be your own kind of leader - one who knows when it’s time to go.”