Jacinda Ardern becomes youngest and 3rd female New Zealand prime minister

By @chelean on
Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern (C), New Zealand's new opposition Labour leader, speaks to the press alongside members of her party after Andrew Little stepped down in Wellington, New Zealand, August 1, 2017. Reuters/Charlotte Greenfield

Jacinda Ardern is the new prime minister of New Zealand. The Labour Leader is the third female PM of the country and youngest at 37 years old, replacing National Party’s Bill English.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced Thursday that the party will form a coalition government with the Labour. This effectively ends the National’s nearly a decade of rule.

Labour has 46 seats, while NZ First has nine. They need 61 seats to form a majority. The Greens owns eight seats, although it is still not certain if it will align itself with the coalition.

Ardern, who only assumed office as the Labour leader on Aug. 1, said the Green Party is still undertaking internal approval process before making a decision whether to join the Labour-led government.

“This is an exciting day. We aspire to be a government for all New Zealanders and one that will seize the opportunity to build a fairer, better New Zealand,” she said. “We will work hard to ensure New Zealand is once again a world leader, a country we can all be proud of. We said we could do this, we will do this.”

The new prime minister also acknowledged her predecessor, thanking English for his service and for “a hard-fought campaign.” She continued, “We both share a commitment to making New Zealand a better place and Bill has left his mark.”

Australia’s Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and former PM Julia Gillard, both from Labor Party, have sent their messages of congratulations to Ardern. The Liberals, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have yet to respond. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who once said she would “find it very hard to build trust” with Ardern should the Kiwi win the election, also has not yet offered word.

 

 

 

 

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