The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern abruptly announced her resignation less than 10 months before a general election.
In Napier, where her Labour Party is conducting a caucus meeting, Ardern told reporters that she lacks the motivation or stamina to run for re-election later this year. She specified October 14 as the election day.
“I have given my absolute all to being Prime Minister but it has also taken a lot out of me,” she said. “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 that inevitably come along. Having reflected over summer I know I no longer have that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice. It’s that simple.”
At this year’s general election, Ardern was expected to run for a third term, but she would face a tough battle as voters turned their attention away from the pandemic and toward the skyrocketing cost of living and the bleak economic outlook. As the central bank raises interest rates at a record pace to rein in inflation, it anticipates a recession this year.
In order to avoid a by-election, Ardern will continue to serve in the legislature until April. On January 22, the Labour caucus will vote to choose a new leader, with the goal of determining whether one candidate receives two-thirds of the vote.
If no candidate receives so much support, the contest will be decided by the entire party membership. That procedure is anticipated to be finished no later than February 7.