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If we think our jobs are tough, imagine being Prime Minister through a global pandemic, an economic downturn, a major natural disaster and a domestic terror event.
After grappling with issues she described as “continual and weighty” for going on six years, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has decided she does not have the energy to lead through another term.
At the party’s annual caucus meeting on Thursday, Ardern said she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the job. “It’s time,” she said.
“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple,” she said.
“I am human, politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time,” she said.
“This has been the most fulfilling five and a half years of my life. But it’s also had its challenges – amongst an agenda focused on housing, child poverty and climate change, we encountered a … domestic terror event, a major natural disaster, a global pandemic, and an economic crisis,” she said.
“I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go,” Ardern said.
Ardern is looking forward to spending more time with her partner, Clarke Gayford, and daughter Neve, whom she gave birth to while holding office.
She will continue as an MP until the election in October.
We congratulate Ardern for the amazing job she has done in the top role, making significant inroads into combating child poverty, increasing affordable housing, tackling low wages, and strengthening national identity. Of course, she has also broken down barriers for working women and mums.
Watch her resignation speech here.