Jacinda Ardern will step down as prime minister after Chris Hipkins won the Labour Party leadership election on Saturday. Hipkins was a key player in New Zealand’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a gathering of Labour’s 64 legislators, or Caucus, on Sunday, Hipkins, 44, is anticipated to be formally installed as the party’s next leader.
Following the party’s announcement that he was the only candidate, Hipkins stated at a press conference, “I think we’re an exceptionally strong team.”
“We’ve been working together throughout this process, and we’ll keep doing so. I consider myself extremely lucky to be working with such a remarkable group of individuals who are genuinely dedicated to serving the people of New Zealand.”
Hipkins, also known by his nickname “Chippy,” developed a reputation for proficiency in handling COVID-19 and served as Ardern’s go-to man when other cabinet ministers were having issues.
On his policy intentions, he refused to be interviewed. Ardern indicated he expected to keep Grant Robertson as finance minister despite the impending cabinet upheaval.
He claimed to have spoken with Anthony Albanese. The prime minister of Australia, afterward tweeted that they had “a friendly discussion.”
Ardern declared unexpectedly on Thursday that she will resign as prime minister because she “no longer had it in the tank” to do so.
Hipkins, who was first chosen by the Labour Party to serve in parliament in 2008, rose to fame by leading the government’s response to the pandemic. Prior to becoming the COVID response minister at the end of the year, he was appointed health minister in July 2020.
He presently serves as the House’s leader and as the police, education, and public service minister.
According to a brief poll by Horizon Research that the local media source Stuff obtained on Friday. Hipkins was the candidate that respondents loved the most.
According to Eva Murphy from New Zealand in Auckland, he will have a difficult time.
He “won’t ever replace the shoes that Jacinda has,” she added, adding that it would be intriguing to watch what Labour would come up with for the upcoming election campaign.
On Sunday afternoon, Hipkins’s approval by Labour legislators is anticipated to be a formality. Before Hipkins is appointed Ardern will submit her letter of resignation to the Governor General of New Zealand.
If affirmed, Hipkins would lead the party until the conclusion of its tenure.
There will be a general election on October 14, and some polls indicate that Labour is trailing the opposition New Zealand National Party.
Based on data collected prior to Ardern’s resignation announcement, a Taxpayers. Union-Curia survey released on Friday revealed that Labour’s support had dropped to 31.7%, trailing the Nationals at 37.2%.
The New Zealand Green Party, Labour’s longtime coalition partner, expressed interest in working with Hipkins in a statement.
James Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party, said that Chris would make a great prime minister. “We look forward to continuing our work together, for the remainder of this term and the next,” he added.