Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 20, 2023
Jacinda Ardern enjoys ‘good night’s sleep’ after decision to quit
Jacinda Ardern said today that she had no regrets about standing down as New Zealand’s prime minister, after an announcement that shocked both her supporters and critics.
A day after revealing she would not stand for re-election because she had no more “in the tank”, she said she was feeling a range of emotions from sadness to a “sense of relief”.
Ardern, who will leave office within weeks, said she would not openly back any of the likely candidates to replace her. Her governing Labour Party is trailing in the polls and predicted to lose the next election due in October.
Speaking outside an airport in the North Island city of Napier, where the Labour Party caucus had gathered for a retreat, Ardern, 42, said she had “slept well for the first time in a long time”.
In response to questions by reporters, she rejected suggestions by some commentators that experiences of misogyny had played a role in her decision.
Ardern said she had a “message for women in leadership and girls who are considering leadership in the future” that “you can have a family and be in these roles”, adding “you can lead in your own style”.
Ardern was the youngest female head of government when she became prime minister in 2017 at 37. She achieved a global profile as she led the country through its worst terrorist attack, a deadly volcanic eruption and the Covid-19 pandemic. She won a landslide second term in 2020 but her popularity waned as she battled declining trust in government, a worsening economic situation and a resurgent conservative opposition.
“You cannot and should not do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unplanned and unexpected challenges,” she said. “I no longer have enough in the tank to do the job justice.”
Trying to head off speculation about hidden motives for her decision, she added: “The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human. 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.” (The Times)
Meanwhile in a survey made public in Canada recently, fifty-four per cent of those polled said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should step down as the leader of the Liberal Party in 2023, though just 27 per cent said they believe he’ll do so. (Global News)