Jacinda Ardern, who led the nation through the Covid-19 pandemic and a terror attack in Christchurch, addressed the parliament for the last time on April 5.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bid farewell to politics on April 5 with a moving speech, assuring others who may not see themselves as typical leaders that they could lead one day. Ardern, who led the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic and a terror attack in Christchurch, addressed the parliament for the last time after stepping down as prime minister in January, admitting she had "no more in the tank."
According to Sky News, the former Prime Minister thanked her family, political party and supporters and also mentioned the struggle of motherhood in her farewell speech.
“You can be anxious, sensitive, kind and wear your heart on your sleeve. You can be a mother, or not, an ex-Mormon, or not, a nerd, a crier, a hugger – you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here – you can lead," a visibly emotional Ardern said.
The daughter of a police officer and school canteen assistant, Ardern said she wanted her legacy to inspire others to take office. “I thought that I would need to change dramatically to survive. I didn’t,” she shared. “I leave this place as sensitive as I ever was – prone to dwell on the negative, hating [parliamentary] question time so deeply that I would struggle to eat most days beforehand. I’m here to tell you, you can be that person and you can be here.”
Jacinda Ardern, who announced her resignation as New Zealand’s prime minister in January, bid farewell to politics in her home country on Wednesday.— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 5, 2023
She discussed the legacy she hoped to leave and ended her emotional speech in the Maori language.https://t.co/A6vo46ozWM pic.twitter.com/bYd9pHSHKw
According to The Guardian, Ardern opened up about her struggles as a prime minister— which she said was “a role I never thought I was meant to have”—talking about her worries and levels of anxiety that left her in cold sweats, as well as the political achievements and battles in her career.
After graduating, Arden began her career as a researcher in the office of New Zealand’s prime minister Helen Clark and worked as a policy adviser in the office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. She garnered global fame after becoming the world’s youngest female head of government at age 37. In addition, she was the second world leader to give birth in office.
Her speech touched on her challenges with IVF and infertility and the impact of politics on her family, and the defining roadblocks of her leadership: the COVID-19 pandemic, the Christchurch mosque shootings and the Whakaari volcanic eruption. She described her political career as "a cross between a sense of duty to steer a moving freight train, and being hit by one."
"The reasons I came here... they’re all there in my maiden speech – climate change, child poverty, inequality. I am, after all, a conviction-based politician," she said.
In her final speech to New Zealand’s Parliament, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described how she’d navigated a pandemic and a mass shooting during a tumultuous five-year tenure as prime minister. https://t.co/mIhPkv09VT pic.twitter.com/qNCF1f6INc— The Associated Press (@AP) April 5, 2023
For five years as leader of the center-left Labour Party, Ardern steered New Zealand through a volcanic eruption, a gunman attack in Christchurch in 2019 that killed 51 Muslim worshippers and the pandemic, reports NBC. Ardern said she found herself to be involved in people’s lives “during their most grief-stricken or traumatic moments” through those series of events.
"Their stories and faces remain etched in my mind and likely will forever," Ardern said while wearing a gifted korowai, a traditional Maori cloak, as a mark of honor and prestige. Looking up at the public galleries for the last time, and nodding at her 4-year-old daughter, Neve, Arden thanked her partner, Clarke Gayford, and told her daughter: “You won’t grow up being known as the ex-prime minister’s daughter but rather I will happily be known as Neve’s mom, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”