Labour Party nominates Chris Hipkins as the next PM for New Zealand
NEW ZEALAND - Jacinda Ardern will be replaced by Chris Hipkins as New Zealand’s next prime minister. This comes after Hipkins emerged as the only candidate nominated to lead the Labour Party.
Mr Hipkins is expected to be confirmed as the new leader at a meeting of Labour’s 64 lawmakers, this Sunday.
Earlier this week, Ardern made the announcement that she will be resigning as the prime minister of New Zealand and will not be seeking re-election.
Mr Hipkins was first elected to parliament for the Labour Party in 2008, the 44-year-old, becoming a household name fronting the government’s response to the pandemic after being appointed minister for COVID-19 in November 2020.
He is currently the minister for police, education and public service, as well as the leader of the House.
A Horizon Research snap poll obtained by local media organization Stuff on Friday showed that Hipkins was the most popular potential candidate among voters, with the backing of 26 per cent of those surveyed.
Hipkins’ confirmation by Labour lawmakers at a meeting on Sunday afternoon is expected to be a formality. Ardern will then tender her resignation to the Governor General before Hipkins is appointed. He is set to hold his first press conference Saturday afternoon.
If confirmed, Hipkins will be prime minister until the party’s term ends.
A general election will be held on October 14, this year with some polls showing Labour will struggle to hold on to power.
A Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll released Friday based on data from before Ardern’s announcement she would resign showed Labour’s popularity falling to 31.7 per cent, while the opposition New Zealand National Party was backed by 37.2 per cent of respondents.
New Zealand Green Party, Labour’s traditional coalition partner, said in a statement that they were looking forward to working with Hipkins.