New Zealand’s Ardern Bids Emotional Farewell on Last Day as Prime Minister

WELLINGTON (Reuters ) —
Chris Hipkins speaks to members of the media, after being confirmed as the only nomination to replace Jacinda Ardern, outside New Zealand’s Parliament in Wellington, Jan. 21. (REUTERS/Lucy Craymer)

Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday bid an emotional farewell on her last day as prime minister, speaking of the kindness and empathy New Zealanders have shown her, but said she was ready to be a sister and a mother.

Days after stunning the world by announcing that she had “no more in the tank” to lead the country and would step down, the 42-year-old arrived at a gathering of politicians and Maori elders in the small town of Ratana, north of the capital Wellington, and was instantly surrounded by supporters seeking photographs.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the greatest privilege of my life,” Ardern told the gathering in a speech.

She will resign on Wednesday and be replaced by the new Labour Party leader, Chris Hipkins.

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