Jacinda Ardern’s next job? Outgoing New Zealand PM addresses rumours she’s bound for a plum job at the United Nations after shock resignation
- Ms Ardern announced her resignation on Thursday
- She denied she was going for a role in United Nations
- Ms Ardern said she was excited to spend time with family
Jacinda Ardern has shut down rumours she’ll be heading to a plum role at the United Nations after announcing her shock resignation as the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Ms Ardern announced on Thursday in an emotional press conference that she would be stepping down on February 7, after five-and-a-half years in the top job.
When asked by a reporter whether she would take up a role at the UN, Ms Ardern said she currently didn’t have any other career aspirations.
‘This has been my entire focus as you can see by the fact you’ve not been aware of this (my resignation), so that (the UN) has not been my focus,’ she said.
Jacinda Ardern has shut down rumours she was considering a career change to the United Nations after announcing her shock resignation
‘My focus has been this decision, supporting the Labor team through this next stage.
‘Beyond that, I have no plans other than spending a bit of time with my family and seeing what’s next.’
She said working for the UN had ‘never’ been her ambition.
Ms Ardern had attracted worldwide attention when she brought her then four-month-old baby Neve into the UN in September, 2018.
Sky News anchor Ashleigh Gillon noted jobs offers would ‘surely be coming thick and fast’ for the outgoing prime minister.
She fought back tears when she made the announcement on Thursday to a horde of media unaware she was stepping down.
‘I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice,’ she said.
‘I would be doing a disservice to continue.’
Ms Ardern said she was looking forward to spending more time with her family
Ms Ardern is seen embracing her fiancé Clarke Gayford after announcing she’d be stepping down
Ms Ardern had attracted worldwide attention when she brought her then four-month-old baby Neve into the UN in September, 2018
Ms Ardern said the Labour party would elect a new leader by the weekend but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson would not be a candidate.
She was expected to announce an election date – which she did, for October 14 – but shocked all-comers by declaring her exit from politics.
She said she left without regrets, offering a simple way she would like to be remembered.
‘As someone who always tried to be kind,’ she said.
Ms Ardern also addressed her family; her fiancé Clarke Gayford and four-year-old daughter Neve.
‘Neve, mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year,’ she said.
Ms Ardern is seen hugging fellow MPs after announcing she would be stepping down from the top job
‘And to Clarke – let’s finally get married.’
Ms Ardern resigns at just 42 after becoming leader just over five years ago on October 26, 2017, and was New Zealand’s youngest-ever PM, and before that youngest sitting MP in 2008, aged 28.
She insisted her party trailing in the polls against the rival National Party ahead of the upcoming election had nothing to do with her decision to step down.
‘I am not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election but because I believe we can and will,’ she said.
‘But we need a fresh set of shoulders for the challenges of both this year and the next three.’
Ms Ardern faced unrelenting criticism for implementing some of the harshest Covid restrictions in the world including lockdowns where New Zealanders couldn’t even buy takeaway food and a more than two-year border closure.
But she denied the constant attacks, which continued last year as the economy faltered and cost of living rose, played a role in her decision.
‘I’m not leaving because it’s hard… I know when I have enough left in the tank to do it justice,’ she said.
JACINDA ARDERN’S FULL STATEMENT
‘Being Prime Minister has been the greatest honour of my life and I want to thank New Zealanders for the enormous privilege of leading the country for the last five and a half years.
‘With holding such a privileged role comes responsibility, including the responsibility to know when you’re the right person to lead, and also when you’re not.
‘I have given my absolute all to being Prime Minister but it has also taken a lot out of me. 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.
‘I have spoken to the Governor-General this morning to let her know.
‘In addition to our ambitious agenda that has sought to address long term issues like the housing crisis, child poverty and climate change, we also had to respond to a major biosecurity incursion, a domestic terror attack, a volcanic eruption and a one in one hundred year global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. The decisions that had to be made have been constant and weighty.
‘I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the last five years in spite of the many challenges thrown at us. We’ve turned around child poverty statistics and made the most significant increases in welfare support and public housing stock seen in many decades.
‘We’ve made it easier to access education and training while improving the pay and conditions of workers. And we’ve worked hard to make progress on issues around our national identify – I believe that teaching our history in schools and celebrating Matariki as our own indigenous national holiday will all make a difference for years to come.
‘And we’ve done that while responding to some of the biggest threats to the health and economic wellbeing of New Zealanders, arguably since World War Two.
‘The Labour team are incredibly well placed to contest the next election. They are the most experienced team in the country and have shown they have the skills necessary to respond to whatever comes their way.
‘I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the election, but because I believe Labour can and will win it. We need a fresh set of shoulders for the challenges of both this year and the next three.
‘As to my time in the job, I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go.’