Ardern's Surprise Exit Is Unlikely to Change New Zealand's Middle-Ground Politics
MIN READJan 23, 2023 | 22:55 GMT
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces her resignation at the War Memorial Centre on Jan. 19, 2023, in Napier, New Zealand.
(Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)
Jacinda Ardern's sudden resignation raises the prospects for a change of the guard in New Zealand. But no matter who takes power, Wellington will likely continue its balanced approach to U.S.-China competition to secure its economic recovery and maintain its ''independent foreign policy,'' even as Wellington gently pushes back against Beijing's expanding military presence in the Pacific Islands. On Jan. 19, Ardern announced she would step down as New Zealand’s prime minister no later than Feb. 7 and would also resign as leader of the ruling Labour Party effective immediately, claiming she had ''no more in the tank'' after more than five years in office. On Jan. 22, the Labour Party selected Chris Hipkins -- Ardern's minister in charge of education, the police, and public services -- to replace Ardern as its leader and eventually serve as New Zealand's interim prime minister once Ardern officially resigns. Hipkins is viewed as...