Reaction to Jacinda Ardern resigning as New Zealand leader

January 20, 2023 GMT
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FILE - Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at the U.N. headquarters. Ardern, who was praised around the world for her handling of the nation’s worst mass shooting and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, said Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, she was leaving office. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)
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FILE - Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at the U.N. headquarters. Ardern, who was praised around the world for her handling of the nation’s worst mass shooting and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, said Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, she was leaving office. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shocked many with her announcement Thursday that she will leave office next month. She said every moment leading her country was a privilege, but she didn’t have enough in reserve to seek another term. Other world leaders as well as Ardern’s political rivals praised her for her leadership during some of the country’s most difficult moments.

ARDERN IN HER OWN WORDS:

“I think I’ve spent so much time thinking hard about this decision because it’s such a critical one that there hasn’t been too much time I think for self-reflection. I imagine that I would do that in the coming months ahead. But I consider every moment, even the hardest of moments, to be a privilege. It’s one thing to lead your country in peace times, it’s another to lead them through crisis. There’s a greater weight of responsibility, a greater vulnerability amongst the people, and so in many ways, I think that will be what sticks with me. I had the privilege of being alongside New Zealand during crisis, and they placed their faith in me.”

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— Ardern, in announcing her decision to reporters after a Labour Party meeting

“I wouldn’t want this last five and a half years to simply be about the challenges, it’s also been about the progress. I think we’ll call it a day.”

— Ardern, concluding her remarks Thursday

REACTION:

“Prime Minister Ardern is a forward-looking, global leader who has inspired millions around the world. Thank you, Madam Prime Minister, for your leadership and for strengthening the ties between the U.S. and New Zealand.”

— U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris

Ardern “has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength. She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.”

— Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

“Thank you, ⁦‪@jacindaardern⁩, for your partnership and your friendship — and for your empathic, compassionate, strong, and steady leadership over these past several years. The difference you have made is immeasurable. I’m wishing you and your family nothing but the best, my friend.”

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— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“I just did want to acknowledge and to thank the prime minister for her service to our country. I do want to say that I respect her for taking on what is a difficult and demanding job, and that she’s obviously given her all. And so I think when I reflect, I think that the way that she led New Zealand through those Christchurch terror attacks in a way we all felt proud about the response from the country and from her as our leader, and the way that she has always been a good ambassador for us on the global stage are things that will be really important in her legacy, and I wish nothing but her and her family all the very best in the future.”

— Christopher Luxon, New Zealand opposition leader

“We’re extremely proud of what Jacinda has done for New Zealand and what as a party we’ve been able to achieve, and also a sense that we want to carry on as well.”

— Grant Robertson, deputy prime minister

“My deepest gratitude to @jacindaardern during our darkest day, the compassion, leadership and understanding shone a light in our grief journey truly impeccable I have a mixture of feelings , shocked , sad but really happy for her. I will never forget her approachability during the outset of March 15, forever grateful for making my mum feel like the PM, listened to and really just human. Couldn’t have asked for a better PM”

— Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussein was killed in the 2019 mosque attacks

“#PrimeMinister @jacindaardern resigned today. I am not surprised nor do I blame her. Her treatment, the pile on, in the last few months has been disgraceful and embarrassing. All the bullies, the misogynists, the aggrieved. She deserved so much better. A great leader. Thanks PM!”

— Sam Neill, New Zealand actor

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