Chris Hopkins was sworn in as New Zealand’s 41st prime minister on Wednesday, following the unexpected resignation of Jacinda Ardern last week. Hopkins, 44, has promised a radical approach focused on the economy and what he has described as an “inflationary epidemic”.
He will have less than nine months to fight a tight general election, with opinion polls showing his Labor party lagging behind the conservative opposition.
New Zealand Governor-General Cindy Carew took over the swearing-in ceremony after accepting Ardern’s resignation.
Hopkins served as Minister of Education and Police under Ardern. He rose to public prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he played a role in crisis management. But he and other liberals have long been overshadowed by Ardern, who became a global icon of the left and exemplified a new style of leadership.
Ardern, making her last public appearance as prime minister on Tuesday, said what she would miss most were the people because they were “a joy to work with”.
New Zealand’s head of state is Britain’s King Charles III, and Kero is his representative in New Zealand, although these days the nation’s relationship with the monarchy is largely symbolic.