Jacinda Ardern stepped down in an official ceremony and was succeeded by Chris Hipkins as New Zealand’s premier

Jacinda Ardern in her last public appearance as premier (AAP via Reuters) (STRINGER /)

Hundreds of people applauded jacinda ardern leaving the New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday, before Chris Hipkins was sworn in as the new prime minister.

Ardern, 42, said last week that he did not have the “energy” to continue, after leading the country through natural disasters, the worst terrorist attack in its history and the covid-19 pandemic.

In its last public appearance as prime minister On Wednesday morning, he walked out of Parliament before hundreds of passers-by burst into spontaneous applause.

your ally Hipkins, 44, sworn in as the new prime minister before the Governor General of New Zealand in a ceremony in the capital Wellington. “This is the greatest privilege and responsibility of my life,” Hipkins declared upon taking office. “I am motivated and excited about the challenges ahead.”

Hipkins, the architect of New Zealand’s response to the pandemic, now faces the task of lift low government approval ratings before the general elections in October.

Hundreds of supporters applauded her at her farewell (AAP/Reuters)
Hundreds of supporters applauded her at her farewell (AAP/Reuters) (STRINGER/)
Chris Hipkins, new premier (Reuters)
Chris Hipkins, new premier (Reuters) (STAFF /)

Prince William was one of the first to congratulate Ardern upon leaving office. “Thank you Jacinda Ardern for her friendship, leadership and support over the years, including the time of my grandmother’s death,” William wrote on his official Twitter account.

Singer Yusuf/Cat Stevens, who performed at the memorial for the 51 killed in the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre, also praised Ardern. He called Ardern a “supporter of the peace train that held New Zealanders together after the Christchurch terror attack.”

ardern was elected prime minister in 2017and her popularity allowed her to be comfortably re-elected for a second term in 2020.

But his center-left government faced difficulties the last two years with rising inflation, a possible recession and the rise of the conservative opposition.

After chairing his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Hipkins said it was an “immensely proud moment” for him as he “took the baton of responsibility” from Ardern. He pointed to the cost of living as one of his pressing priorities, but was evasive when asked about other policies.

Ardern, an icon of progressive politics, has been credited with raising New Zealand’s international profile.

Hipkins assured that he will build his own relationships, although he said he hopes that Ardern will help him with that.

Ardern and Hipkins (via Reuters)
Ardern and Hipkins (via Reuters) (STRINGER /)

A father of two children and nicknamed “Chippy,” Hipkins considers himself a “normal, ordinary kiwi”comes from a working-class family and enjoys cycling to work.

Meanwhile, Ardern will keep his seat in Parliament, although he announced his intention to distance himself a bit from everyday politics.

He also announced plans to marry his partner Clarke Gayford, who hosts a popular fishing show on TV, and who hopes to take their daughter Neve to school.

Gayford said Ardern’s resignation has been met with an “incredible outpouring of appreciation and respect.”

(With information from AFP)

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