Chris Hipkins officially named prime minister

Chris Hipkins has been hailed for his nearly two-year term as minister in charge of the fight against Covid-19, in a country which closed its borders to ward off the pandemic and only reopened them in August 2022 .

Jacinda Ardern stunned New Zealand last week abruptly announcing his withdrawal from powerless than three years after winning a second term in a landslide election victory.

Jacinda Ardern, 42, said she no longer had “enough energy” to continue performing her duties, after five years marked by a deadly volcanic eruption, the worst attack ever in the country and the Covid-19 pandemic .

“I leave with a feeling of gratitude after having fulfilled this marvelous role for so many years,” she told reporters in Ratana (north) on Tuesday, to the applause of some spectators, during her last public trip as Prime Minister.

Fall in popularity

But the popularity of the Labor government (centre-left) has deteriorated in recent months due to a looming recession and a resurgence of the Conservative opposition.

Chris Hipkins, who rose to prominence leading his country’s tough response to the coronavirus, will have the daunting task of reviving his popularity ahead of the October 2023 general election.

The new Prime Minister has already set the course: “Covid-19 and the global pandemic are at the root of a health crisis. Now this crisis is also economic, and that is what my government will focus on,” he stressed.

Chris Hipkins, who describes himself as an “enthusiast outdoors” who enjoys mountain biking, hiking and swimming, studied politics and criminology at the University of Victoria and later worked in industrial training.

Departure hailed abroad

In Wellington, the New Zealand Prime Minister, just invested, also described as “absolutely odious” the attacks that his predecessor suffered when she was head of state.

While Jacinda Ardern’s resignation has sparked a nationwide debate about the denigration of women leaders, particularly on social media, the former prime minister said on Tuesday that she would “hate” if her sudden departure was seen as criticism of his country.

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