Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, announced unexpectedly on Thursday that she is stepping down next month, saying she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead or to seek reelection in October.
“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility,” she said. “The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple.”
Speaking at her Labor party‘s annual caucus meeting, Ardern, 42, said she would step down as Labour Party leader no later than February 7, and a new Labour prime minister would be sworn in at that time, though “depending on the process it could be earlier.” New Zealand will vote in the coming days to determine her replacement.
Ardern said she didn’t think she was the right person to lead the country anymore. “We need a fresh set of shoulders for that challenge,” she said.
🚨BREAKING: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has resigned.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 19, 2023
According to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, she was the “most authoritarian leader that country ever had and no one else comes close.” Carlson added: “An appalling abuser of human rights of her own people. She shut down the entire country over a single COVID case. She told everyone to stay in their bubbles. She told citizens to inform on their neighbors by calling the police if they saw them outside.”
Carlson played a video montage of Ardern’s most authoritarian moments.
New Zealand PM, Covid tyrant and authoritarian Jacinda Ardern i is calling it quits. Good. pic.twitter.com/hn76MLzOBr
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) January 19, 2023
Ardern, who was a World Economic Forum (WEF) “young Global Leader,” choked up as she detailed how six “challenging” years in the job had taken a toll. She said she had taken time to consider her future over the summer break.
“I had hoped that I would find what I needed to carry on over that period but, unfortunately, I haven’t, and I would be doing a disservice to New Zealand to continue,” she told reporters.
Ardern touted her government’s “achievements” on climate change, social housing and reducing child poverty as ones she was particularly proud of.
She won the 2020 election in a landslide election victory, but her domestic popularity waned after her Chinese-style “Zero Covid” measures destroyed the nation’s economy. She forced mask and vaccine mandates on the population until September of 2022.
Inspired by the trucker protests in Canada, and elsewhere, New Zealanders began holding massive protests in February and March of 2022.
Congratulations to all the New Zealanders that fought against Jacinda Ardern’s dictatorship… she will resign as the most unpopular leader in modern history
RESIST 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/CLNey16iYH
— Pelham (@Resist_05) January 19, 2023
Ardern said at the time that she felt demonstrations were an “imported” phenomenon, and like nothing she had ever seen before in the country.
Her legacy will be as a destroyer of civil liberties during the COVID pandemic, and a creator of classes of citizens based on their vaccine status.
Regardless of her pending resignation, Crime Minister Jacinda Ardern should be tried and convicted for Crimes Against Humanity. pic.twitter.com/1eMRr3PcsV
— Murray 🇺🇸 (@Rothbard1776) January 19, 2023
Ardern said she has no firm plans about what she’ll do next, but said she is looking forward to spending more time with her child and finally marrying her longtime fiancé.