Chris Hipkins sworn in as New Zealand Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern leaves office in an emotional farewell after five years of service

Chris Hipkins was sworn in on Wednesday as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand after Jacinda Ardern's resignation. Photo: Getty
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New Zealand's new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was officially sworn in on Wednesday in a formal ceremony after the governor general appointed the Labour leader as head of the new government.

Mr Hipkins's appointment follows the resignation of Jacinda Ardern last week.

Ms Ardern, 42, surprised the nation with her resignation, saying she had “no more in the tank” to lead the country.

Her Labour party then elected former Covid-19 response and police minister Mr Hipkins, 44, to lead the party and the country on Sunday.

The new Prime Minister vowed to put forward a back-to-basics approach focusing on the economy and what he described as the “pandemic of inflation”.

“This is the biggest privilege and responsibility of my life,” Mr Hipkins said after taking office.

“I'm energised and excited by the challenges ahead.”

Ms Ardern will have to tender her resignation to Governor General Cindy Kiro, King Charles's representative in New Zealand.

She made her last public appearance as New Zealand prime minister on Wednesday, walking out of parliament as a crowd of hundreds broke into a spontaneous round of applause.

During her five years in office, she steered the country through natural disasters, its worst-ever terror attack and the pandemic.

Ms Ardern, a global figurehead of progressive politics, appeared emotional as she left the parliament building in the capital Wellington.

“I leave feeling gratitude for having this wonderful role for so many years,” she said on Tuesday.

About 300 staff members, fellow politicians and members of the public gathered on the parliament lawns to bid her farewell.

Mr Hipkins will now have to steer the country in reviving the government's popularity ahead of a general election in October.

A looming recession and a resurgent conservative opposition had brought down the popularity of Ms Ardern's government in the recent months.

Updated: January 25, 2023, 2:10 PM