Ardern successor: Hipkins sworn in as New Zealand’s Prime Minister

Status: 01/25/2023 08:31 a.m

Chris Hipkins has been sworn in as New Zealand’s new Prime Minister. The successor to the popular Ardern said he wanted to keep his focus on the economy and the fight against inflation.

New Zealand has a new Prime Minister. Chris Hipkins was sworn in on Wednesday (local time) to succeed Jacinda Ardern, who surprisingly announced her resignation last week after more than five years in office.

He took his oath of office before Governor General Cindy Kiro, who had previously formally accepted Ardern’s resignation. “This is the greatest privilege and the greatest opportunity of my life,” said Hipkins at the start of his first cabinet meeting as the new prime minister. He is energetic and excited about the challenges that lie ahead.

Emphasis on economic issues

According to Hipkins, his focus will be on strengthening New Zealand’s economy. His predecessor Ardern had been repeatedly criticized for lack of leadership in the business sector. Hipkins emphasized that his focus is on the “pandemic of inflation”:

New Zealanders will certainly see in the coming weeks and months that the cost of living will be at the heart of our work programme.

The post of Hipkins runner-up was also filled on Wednesday: with Carmel Sepuloni. Born in 1977 to a Polynesian immigrant mother and a New Zealander of European descent, the politician is the first Pacific Islander to hold this senior government position.

Carmel Sepuloni has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Image: AP

Parliamentary elections in October

A new parliament will be elected in New Zealand in October and the Labor Party, now under Hipkins, is currently trailing the Conservative opposition in polls. The 44-year-old prime minister has less than nine months to reverse the trend.

Under Ardern, Hipkins served as Secretary of Education and Secretary of Police. At the height of the corona pandemic, he acted as a crisis manager and was thus able to sharpen his profile. But he and other Labor politicians have long been overshadowed by Ardern, who has risen to become a globally respected icon of the left with her political style, which has been praised as refreshing and hands-on.

“Not Enough in the Tank”

Ardern surprisingly announced last Thursday that she was stepping down from her post as prime minister. “I know what you need for this job and I know that I don’t have enough left in the tank,” she explained her decision.

When she last attended a parliamentary session as head of government on Wednesday, she received an emotional farewell from numerous cabinet members. Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate, also tweeted farewells, thanking Ardern “for your friendship, guidance and support over the years, not least at the time of my grandmother’s death.”

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