New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Resigns After Not Having “Enough in the Tank to Do It Justice”

“I am leaving because with such a privileged role, comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not,” Ardern stated.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she will be resigning from her role.

The country’s prime minister fought back the tears as she told reporters on Jan. 19, that she would not be running for re-election and that Feb. 7 would be her last day in the role.

“I am entering now my sixth year in office. And for each of those years, I have given my absolute all,” the Ardern said. “This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term - because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that.”

Ardern stated that her reason for leaving was not because of the difficulty of the job but rather because she was burned out and no longer had what it took for the role. 

“I am leaving because with such a privileged role, comes responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not,” Ardern said. “I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple.”

The announcement comes after nearly challenging six years in the role. 

“Amongst an agenda focused on housing, child poverty and climate change, we encountered a major biosecurity incursion, a domestic terror event, a major natural disaster, a global pandemic and an economic crisis. The decisions that had to be made have been continual, and they have been weighty,” said the prime minister.

Prime Minister Ardern told reporters that while some may try to find underlying reasons for the resignation, the only one was the one she shared.

“The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human. Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time,” Ardern said.

Ardern included in her announcement that the New Zealand caucus will vote to elect a new leader on Jan. 22. If one isn’t elected then the choice will go on to wider membership. 

Ardern also said she will remain a member of the parliament until April, which is when she will say her goodbye and thank you's after 15 years in the New Zealand government. 

“For my part, I want to finish with a simple thank you to New Zealanders for giving me this opportunity to serve, and to take on what has and will always be the greatest role in my life,” she said. “I hope in return I leave behind a belief that you can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive. Optimistic, but focused. That you can be your own kind of leader - one that knows when it’s time to go.”

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