Hipkins to lead government in New Zealand after Ardern

Hipkins is set to succeed Ardern in New Zealand

New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins speaks to journalists outside the Houses of Parliament in Wellington.

(Photo: dpa)

wellington Former New Zealand Police and Education Minister Chris Hipkins is to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The 44-year-old is the only candidate for the leadership of the ruling Labor party, Labor politician Duncan Webb said on Saturday. His nomination has yet to be formally confirmed by a party committee meeting on Sunday, Webb said.

The 42-year-old Ardern, who has ruled the country since 2017, surprisingly announced on Thursday that she would withdraw by February 7 and said that she lacked the strength to continue. She is expected to step down shortly before Hipkins is then sworn in as the country’s 41st prime minister. He is then to lead the country in the elections scheduled for October 14.

At a press conference on Saturday, Hipkins described the nomination as a great privilege. “It’s also a huge responsibility,” he said. He is a “hard worker” committed to leaving New Zealand in better shape than he found it. Ardern has distinguished herself through the country’s most challenging years with her calm and stable leadership. “I hope to do the same, even though we’re different people,” Hipkins said.

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