WELLINGTON: On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered to applaud Jacinda Ardern as she left the New Zealand parliament to quit as prime minister. Chris Hipkins was then quickly sworn in as her successor.
Ardern admitted last week that she no longer had “enough in the tank” after navigating the country through natural disasters, the country’s worst-ever terror attack, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hipkins was sworn in by Governor-General Cindy Kiro during a ceremony in the capital Wellington, saying he was “energized and enthused about the challenges ahead”.
“This is the greatest honor and responsibility I’ve ever had,” he remarked.
The 44-year-old is now charged with turning around the government’s dwindling popularity, which has been plagued by a failing economy and a rising conservative opposition.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ardern made her final public appearance in her capacity as prime minister. As she left the recognizable Beehive parliament building, hundreds of staff members and passersby spontaneously started applauding.