Incoming New Zealand PM calls out Ardern's 'abhorrent' treatment
The new Labour party leader and incoming Prime Minister says he accepts being "public property" after assuming the position but "not his family".
New Zealand's successor for the prime minister role and current Minister of Police described the treatment that outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received from "some segments" of the country as "abhorrent".
Ardern announced her resignation on Thursday, during which she confessed that she no longer had "enough in the tank" to lead the country - amid poll data a day before the resignation showing a decline in popularity for her party and a rise for the Nationals Party.
Following New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern's resignation, Chris Hipkins is set to head the ruling Labour Party and replace Ardern as PM.
Hipkins, who also goes by the nickname "Chippy", played a major role in the country's response to the pandemic and played a troubleshooter for Ardern, amping up his competence and capabilities.
"The way Jacinda has been treated, particularly by some segments of our society -- and they are a small minority -- has been utterly abhorrent," Hipkins stated.
"It does not represent who we are as a country," said the Police Minister.
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Hipkins noted that he understands that taking the country's leadership will make him "public property".
However, he told reporters, "My family aren't."
The incoming PM said he wanted his young children, six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, to live a "typical Kiwi kid life," stressing that his divorce was his personal issue.
"I have seen the enormous scrutiny and pressure placed on Jacinda and her family and so my response will be to keep my family completely out of the spotlight," he noted.
In her resignation, Ardern expressed that it was time for her departure from the position.
"I am human. We give as much as we can for as long as we can and then it's time," she said.
Ardern is set to leave her position on February 7, but she will continue as an MP until the upcoming election this year in October, while Hipkins, who will be sworn in on Wednesday, will become the 41st prime minister of New Zealand.
The new leader announced that he will be focusing in his term on improving the country's economy.
"Covid-19 and the global pandemic created a health crisis. Now it's created an economic one and that's where my government's focus will be," he said.
He also announced that Carmel Sepuloni will become the first deputy PM of Pacific Island descent.
"I want to acknowledge the significance of this for our Pacific community," she said.
"I've received so many humbling messages about another glass ceiling being smashed."
Around 8% of the country's 5.1 million population identifies as Pasifika, a citizen of Pacific Island descent.
As the world’s youngest female head of government elected as prime minister in 2017 at age 37, Ardern led New Zealand through attacks such as the two mosques in Christchurch and disasters like the White Island volcanic eruption.
When she was asked how she would like her country to remember her, she replied, “As someone who always tried to be kind.”