Chris Hipkins has been sworn in as New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister. He was formally appointed in Wellington after the sudden resignation of former prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Hipkins was nominated unanimously as the Labor Party’s caucus meeting, however, in October he will face a tough general election with opinion polls revealing his Labour Party is trailing its conservative opposition.
The 44-year-old Prime Minister has pledged to have a back-to-basics approach concentrating on the economy, what he described as a “pandemic of inflation”. He will hold his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Ardern’s last day at office
A week back, speaking at a press conference Ardern said she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead the country while announcing her resignation. After accepting Ardern’s resignation, New Zealand Governor-General Cindy Kiro officiated the swearing in ceremony.
On Tuesday, Ardern made her final appearance as Prime Minister, and said that she would miss the people most as they had been the “joy of the job”.
Ardern, on her last day in office, paid a visit to Ratana, a small town north of Wellington, along with politicians and Maori elders. She said she was ready to be a backbench MP, a sister and a mother.
Hipkins successful role as Covid Minister
Hipkins built his reputation as the minister who led New Zealand with a successful Covid-19 strategy. He served as education and police minister under Ardern. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he took on a significant role in the management crisis which made him a prominent figure.
New Zealand was the first to close borders, which was appreciated for keeping New Zealand virus-free early on the pandemic. Later, frustration began setting in among the citizens being tired of the zero-tolerance strategy that announced a nationwide lockdown even when a single infection was reported.
Hipkins along with other liberals have been under Ardern’s shadow who became globally well-known and showed a new leadership style.
Hipkins, a father of two and is nicknamed “Chippy”, said that his commitment and politics is to “make sure that we provide opportunities for all Kiwis who want to work hard, to be able to work hard and get ahead and provide a better life for themselves and their families”, as per British news agency Reuters.