(UnitedVoice.com) – Jacinda Ardern became the 40th prime minister of New Zealand in 2017. She was 37 when she took the reigns and the youngest person to serve as the head of state in over 150 years. Now, at 42 years old, she has decided to leave office.
On Thursday, January 19, Ardern announced she was leaving office by February 7. The center-Left Labour Party leader reportedly sent a shockwave through the country of 5 million people. During her speech, she was visibly fighting back tears, telling reporters that she doesn’t “have enough in the tank” to lead the nation any longer.
Ardern went on to say, “I am human, Politicians are human.”
The young prime minister guided the country through some of the most difficult times in its history. Two years after she assumed her position, a gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch and murdered 51 people. It was New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in history. Within weeks of the shooting, she passed new laws banning many semi-automatic weapons. Unlike the US, New Zealanders don’t have the right to gun ownership; however, many people own them. Citizens widely celebrated how Ardern comforted the survivors and victims’ families after the killings. She refused to even say the alleged killer’s name out of respect.
Ardern was also a loud supporter of the #MeToo movement. Critics said her deviation from the far-Left movement eroded the trust the people of her country had in her. She also received a lot of criticism for the other policies she instituted during her time in office.
During her tenure, the prime minister created the most diverse government in the country’s history. In 2021, New Zealand became the first advanced country to have a legislature made up of a female majority.
Labour Party lawmakers will vote for a new prime minister on Sunday, January 22.
Copyright 2023, UnitedVoice.com