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New PM for New Zealand
News Bytes 01/25/2023 0 Comments

Chris Hipkins became New Zealand’s 41st prime minister on Wednesday. His appointment follows the unexpected resignation last week of Jacinda Ardern. Hipkins promises a back-to-basics approach. For him, that means focusing on the economy and the “pandemic of inflation.”

Ardern cited burnout as the reason she left office. During her tenure, New Zealand faced mass shootings, cattle disease, coronavirus, and a volcanic eruption. Last week, Ardern said she was resigning after more than five years in the role because she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do the job justice. “It’s that simple,” she says.

New Zealand Governor-General Cindy Kiro oversaw Hipkins’ swearing-in ceremony after accepting Ardern’s resignation.

“This is the biggest privilege and responsibility of my life,” Hipkins says. “I’m energized and excited by the challenges that lie ahead.”

Carmel Sepuloni was also sworn in as deputy prime minister. This is the first time a person with Pacific Island heritage has taken on the role. Sepuloni congratulated Hipkins and thanked him for the trust he’d placed in her.

Hipkins is known to many by the nickname “Chippy.” The moniker fits his upbeat demeanor and skills as an amateur handyman. The new PM served as education and police minister under Ardern. He rose to public prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he took on a crisis management role. But Hipkins has long been in the shadow of Ardern. The young, vibrant leader embodied a new style of leadership. She quickly became a global icon of the left.

On Tuesday, Ardern made her final official appearance as prime minister. She says the things she will miss most are the people and the “joy of the job.” This morning, dozens of former staff members and admirers greeted her with hugs and farewells as she left the building.

Ardern plans to stay on as a lawmaker until April. Doing so will avoid triggering a special election ahead of the nation’s October general election.

New Zealand’s head-of-state is Great Britain’s King Charles III. These days, the nation’s relationship with the monarchy is largely symbolic.

Britain’s Prince William thanked Ardern on Twitter “for your friendship, leadership, and support over the years, not least at the time of my grandmother’s death.”

After the ceremony, Hipkins told reporters: “It feels pretty real now.”

There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. — Romans 13:1

(New Zealand’s incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins speaks in Ratana, New Zealand, on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP)

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