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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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    Jacinda Ardern makes final appearance as New Zealand leader

    WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) – Jacinda Ardern (AP, pic below) made her final public appearance as New Zealand’s prime minister yesterday, saying the thing she would miss most was the people, because they had been the “joy of the job”.

    Ardern, who has been a global icon of the left, shocked the nation last Thursday when she said she was resigning as leader after more than five years because she had nothing left in the tank.

    Labour Party lawmakers voted unanimously on Sunday for Chris Hipkins to take over as prime minister, and he will be sworn in today.

    Ardern’s final act as leader was to join Hipkins and other lawmakers attending celebrations at the Rātana meeting grounds, the home of an Indigenous Māori religious movement.

    Ardern told reporters she’d been friends with Hipkins for nearly 20 years and spent two hours with him on the drive to the grounds. She said the only real advice she could offer was, “You do you.”

    “This is for him now. It’s for him to carve out his own space to be his own kind of leader,” Ardern said.

    “Actually, there’s no advice I can really impart. I can share information, I can share experiences, but this is now for him.”

    Ardern also addressed the wide discussion that has been going on since her announcement about the attacks on her on social media – something she has said did not contribute to her decision.

    “While there has been a bit of commentary in the aftermath of my departure, I would hate for anyone to view my departure as a negative commentary on New Zealand,” Ardern said.

    “I have experienced such love, compassion, empathy and kindness when I’ve been in this job. That has been my predominant experience.”

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