New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern throws in the towel
In a shock announcement on Thursday, New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern said she no longer has “enough in the tank” to continue in the top job and will step down on Feb. 7. Ardern, a darling of the center-left who in 2017 became the world’s youngest female head of government, led the nation of 5 million through a host of challenges in recent years, including the horrific massacre at two Christchurch mosques, the pandemic, and a volcanic eruption on Whakaari/White Island that killed 22 people. Like much of the developed world, New Zealand is currently in the throes of an inflationary crisis that’s forced the central bank to aggressively raise interest rates. What’s more, as the cost of living crunch hurts ordinary New Zealanders, Ardern’s Labour Party is falling behind the center-right National Party in the polls ahead of the next general election in Oct. 2023. It’s unclear who will replace her, but Ardern’s deputy, Grant Robertson, already said he does not want the gig. In a rare act of political civility – and yet another reason why we should all move to New Zealand – Ardern’s rival, Christopher Luxon, head of the National Party, thanked Ardern for her service and for giving her all to a "demanding job."