Chris Hipkins was sworn in as Prime Minister by New Zealand’s Governor-General at a ceremony in the capital, Wellington.
“It’s the greatest privilege and responsibility of my life,” Hipkins said after taking official office. “I am energized and excited for the challenges ahead.”
Jacinda Ardern said last week that she had “not enough in the tank” after leading the country through natural disasters, its worst terror attack and the Covid-19 pandemic.
His Labor government has struggled increasingly in the polls over the past two years, hampered by runaway inflation, a looming recession and a resurgent Conservative opposition.
She made her final public appearance as prime minister earlier on Wednesday, walking out of parliament as hundreds of onlookers burst into a spontaneous round of applause.
Hipkins, the architect of New Zealand’s response to the pandemic, is now tasked with rekindling the government’s waning popularity ahead of October’s general election.
The father-of-two goes by the nickname ‘Chippy’ and describes himself as a ‘regular, ordinary Kiwi’ from a working-class background who loves sausage rolls and cycling to work.
“Covid-19 and the global pandemic have created a health crisis. Now he’s created an economic one and that’s where my government will focus,” Hipkins previously said.
. Chris Hipkins Sworn Tant Prime Minister New Zealand Chris Hipkins