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Friday, February 3, 2023

Chris Hipkins to be New Zealand’s next prime minister

World NewsChris Hipkins to be New Zealand's next prime minister

Education Minister Chris Hopkins is set to become New Zealand’s next prime minister after he was the only candidate to join the race to replace him on Saturday. Jacinda Ardern.

Hopkins, 44, still has to win the endorsement of his Labor colleagues on Sunday, but that is now just a formality. The formal transfer of power will take place in the coming days.

“It’s a big day for a boy from Hutt,” said Hopkins, referring to the Hutt Valley near Wellington where he grew up. “I’m really humbled and really honored to be doing this. It’s the biggest responsibility and the biggest honor of my life.”

Ardern shocked a nation of five million people on Thursday when she announced she was stepping down after five-and-a-half years in the top role.

The lack of other candidates indicated that the party’s lawmakers had rallied behind Hopkins to avoid any rifts and any sign of dissent after Harden’s departure.

Hopkins will have just over eight months in the role before running for the general election. Opinion polls have indicated that Labor is lagging behind its main rival, the conservative National Party.

Hopkins rose to public prominence during the coronavirus pandemic, when he played a role in crisis management. But he and other Liberals have long been overshadowed by Ardern, who became one. The global icon on the left And exemplified a new style of leadership.

When she became leader at just 37 years old, Ardern was praised worldwide for her handling of the country’s worst shooting ever and the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he faced mounting political pressure at home and a level of violence from some that previous New Zealand leaders had not faced. Online, she was subjected to physical threats and abuse.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark wrote, “Our society can now usefully consider whether it wants to continue to tolerate the excessive polarization that is making politics an increasingly unpleasant calling.”

Fighting back tears, Ardern told reporters on Thursday that she would be leaving the post after February 7.

“I know what it takes, and I know I don’t have enough in the tank now to do it justice. It’s that simple,” he said.

In addition to holding the education portfolio, Hopkins is also the Minister of Police and Public Service and Leader of the House. He is known as a political trouble-shooter who has played various roles to try to solve problems created by other legislators.

But he’s also made some mistakes of his own, such as when he told people during the virus lockdown that they could go out and “stretch their legs,” a comment that drew a lot of glee on the Internet. of

Hopkins drew a small crowd of applauding onlookers as he spoke to reporters outside Parliament. He said he’d come back fired up after the summer break, considered himself a hard worker and a straight shooter, and didn’t plan to lose his trademark sense of humor in his new role.

He said he would not announce changes to policy or ministerial roles ahead of Sunday’s vote, except that Grant Robertson would remain finance minister. Hopkins said he believed he could win the election and paid tribute to Ardern.

“Jacinda Ardern has been an incredible Prime Minister for New Zealand,” Hopkins said. “She was the kind of leader we needed when we needed her.”

A lawmaker for 15 years, Hopkins is considered more centrist than Ardern and colleagues hope he will appeal to a wider range of voters.

One of his biggest challenges during an election year will be convincing voters that his party is handling the economy well.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate is relatively low at 3.3%, but inflation is high at 7.2%. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised its benchmark interest rate to 4.25% as it tries to control inflation, and some economists are predicting the country will slip into recession this year.

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