New Zealand’s new prime minister
January 23, 2023 - Education Minister Chris Hipkins will become New Zealand’s next prime minister after MPs of the ruling Labour party made the 44-year-old their unanimous choice on Saturday (January 21, 2023) to replace outgoing leader Jacinda Ardern.
Hipkins, 44, won an endorsement Sunday from his Labour Party colleagues, but that is just a formality now. Hipkins will be sworn in Wednesday, one week after Ardern announced her intention to resign.
“It’s a big day for a boy from the Hutt,” Hipkins said, referring to the Hutt Valley near Wellington where he grew up.” I’m really humbled and really proud to be taking this on. It is the biggest responsibility and the biggest privilege of my life,” Hipkins said on Facebook.
Hipkins –– whose role in leading the country’s Covid-19 response helped earn him the tag of “Mr Fixit” -- said in a press conference that his government would return to economic surplus due to the country’s pandemic response.
Hipkins named Carmel Cipollone as deputy prime minister, the first “Pasifika” -- a New Zealander of Pacific Island descent -- to hold the role.
The new prime minister’s term will last just eight months before he faces a general election on October 14 when he faces Christopher Luxon, who leads the rival National party.
A Taxpayer’s-Union Curia poll, taken three days before Ardern announced her resignation, put Labour’s vote at 31.7 per cent, a fall of 1.4 points.
The National Party’s support also fell, but from a higher base. Its vote fell 2.2 points to 37.2 per cent.
In the 120-seat Parliament, this would mean a National-led coalition government with 63 seats compared to a Labour-led coalition with 55 seats.