Jacinda Ardern farewell speech: New Zealand’s ex-PM says tearful goodbye – National

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday that all New Zealanders should make politics their home in her final address to parliament after leading the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic and terrorist attacks in Christchurch. I should feel that I can do it.

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Ardern, who thanked her family, political parties and supporters, said she was “no longer in the tank” to lead the country, stepping down as prime minister in January.

She stepped onto the global stage in 2017 when she became the world’s youngest female head of government at age 37. She gained her international attention even more when she took the baby to a United Nations conference.

Popular abroad, rising prices, rising crime and controversial water and agriculture reforms at home eventually lost her support.

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Empathy and pioneering define Ardern’s legacy as New Zealand Prime Minister

A five-year leader of the center-left Labor Party, Ardern steered New Zealand through a volcanic eruption, the 2019 Christchurch shooter attack, the killing of 51 Muslim worshipers and a pandemic.

Ardern said she found herself involved in people’s lives “in the most grief-stricken or traumatic moments” of that chain of events.

“Their stories and faces are etched in my mind and will probably last forever,” Ardern told parliament on Wednesday, wearing the Korowai, a traditional Maori cloak considered a mark of honor and prestige. Wearing a.

She urged lawmakers to decouple politics from climate change.

“There will always be policy differences,” Ardern said.

The daughter of a cop and school cafeteria manager and a self-professed “hug and crybaby,” Ardern hoped her career would inspire others to take office.

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“You can be anxious, sensitive, kind, and soothing,” she said with tears in her eyes. Geeks, cryers, huggers, you can be all of these and not only are you here, you can lead like me.

His successor, Chris Hipkins, appointed Ardern on Tuesday to an unpaid mission to combat violent extremism online at an organization created after the Christchurch attack. Ardern said he is looking forward to working on deradicalisation.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned in February, not running for October election

She won accolades across the political spectrum for her response to the COVID pandemic, but she said it was a “painful experience.” New Zealand faced some of the toughest measures in the world, but she also had one of the lowest death tolls.

Looking up at the public gallery with her 4-year-old daughter Neve, Ardern thanked her partner Clark Gayford and said: As Neve’s mom, I wouldn’t have it any other way. ”

— Reported by Louis Jackson, Sydney. Edited by Jamie Freed. Using files from Associated Press.

© 2023 Thomson Reuters

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