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New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern leaves office and is ready to be a “sister and mother”

Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern speaks to the media. (24 January 2023)
Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern speaks to the media. (24 January 2023)

Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday on her last day in office that she was “ready to be a sister and a mother.”

Ardern made her last public appearance with her successor, the new leader of the ruling Labour Party, Kris Shipkins, in a Maori settlement in the town of Ratana, just outside the capital Wellington.

Last week, Ardern announced that she would step down as prime minister after five years because she had nothing left “in the tank”. Her words shocked New Zealand.

She dismissed speculation that she resigned after a wave of snarky and misogynistic attacks launched by right-wing extremists on social media. She told reporters she didn’t want anyone to see her decision as “a negative comment on New Zealand.”

“When I do this job, I feel love, compassion, empathy, and kindness,” Ardern said.

In October 2017, 37-year-old Ardern became New Zealand’s 40th and third-ever female prime minister and youngest since 1856. In September 2018, she became the first female leader to attend the UN General Assembly with her own baby.

When Shipkins is sworn in as the new prime minister on Wednesday, Ardern will remain in parliament as a rank-and-file councilor. The Labour-led government lagged behind in voter polls ahead of October’s general election.

(This article is partly from The Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP)

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