New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern announces shock resignation before upcoming election

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday she will stand aside for a new leader within weeks, saying she doesn’t believe she has the energy to seek

re-election in the October polls. Speaking at a news conference, Ardern said her term would end by February 7, when she expects a new Labour prime minister will be sworn

in – though “depending on the process that could be earlier.” “The decision was my own,” Ardern said. “Leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have,

but also the most challenging. You cannot and should not do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unplanned and unexpected challenges.” “I no

longer have enough in the tank to do the job justice,” she added. When Ardern became prime minister in 2017 at the age of 37, she was New Zealand’s third female leader and

one of the youngest leaders in the world. Within a year, she had given birth in office – only the second world leader ever to do so. She was re-elected for a second term in

2020, the victory buoyed by her government’s “go hard and go early” approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw New Zealand impose some of the world’s strictest border rules,

separating families and shutting out almost all foreigners for almost two years. On Thursday, Ardern spoke candidly about the toll the job has taken and reflected on the

various crises her government has faced, including both the pandemic and the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, which killed 51 people at two mosques.