New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has announced that she had “no more in the tank” to continue leading the country and would step down on February 7.
Ardern, Thursday said that it had been a tough five and a half years as prime minister and that she was only human and needed to step aside.
“This has been the most fulfilling 5½ years of my life, but it has also had its challenges,” Ardern told reporters. “Among an agenda focused on housing, child poverty and climate change, we encountered a major biosecurity incursion, a domestic terror event, a major natural disaster, a global pandemic and an economic crisis.
“The decisions that have had to be made have been continual, and they have been weighty,” she said.
“This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term – because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that,” Ardern, 42, told a news conference.
“I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so-called ‘real’ reason was… The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, I am human,” she continued. “Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Meanwhile, the ruling New Zealand Labour Party will vote for a new leader on Sunday; the party leader will be prime minister until the next general election on Oct. 14.
In contrast to popular belief, Ardern stated that she was resigning because she thought others could do the position more effectively.
She made a point of telling her daughter Neve that she was looking forward to being there when she started school this year and told her longtime partner Clarke Gayford that it was time they married.
“Her international reputation in many ways has been made out of dealing with things that no one would have wanted,” said Grant Duncan, an associate professor at Massey University in Auckland.
The 42-year-old Ardern received praise from all over the world for how she handled the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 51 Muslim worshipers and the injuries of an additional 40.
Later that year, she received accolades for her shrewd leadership during the deadly eruption of the White Island (also known as the Whakaari) volcano.