Chris Hipkins will succeed Jacinda Ardern as prime minister of New Zealand.
Hipkins, 44, the current minister for public service, education, and law enforcement, has been praised for being “tough” and “smart.”
Chris Hipkins, the country’s minister of police and education, won the election to lead the ruling Labour Party and will succeed Jacinda Ardern as prime minister.
Following Ardern’s unexpected resignation, the senior politician must now receive the formal support of Labour lawmakers in order to become the nation’s 41st prime minister on Sunday.
Senior party member Duncan Webb announced on Saturday that “the Labour Party caucus will convene at 1pm [00:00 GMT] on Sunday to endorse the nomination and confirm Chris Hipkins as Party Leader.”
The 44-year-old Hipkins, who was first elected to parliament for the Labour Party in 2008, rose to fame after being named minister for COVID-19 in November 2020 and leading the government’s response to the pandemic.
In the general election on October 14, Hipkins, who is presently the leader of the House of Representatives and the minister for public safety, education, and services, will head his party’s difficult campaign.
Opponents of Labour have criticized the party over rising costs, poverty, and crime rates, and the party is trailing in polls.
Less than three years after gaining a second term in a landslide election victory, Ardern, a global icon for progressive politics, shocked New Zealand and the globe by abruptly announcing her resignation from government on Thursday.
Despite guiding the nation through natural disasters, the COVID-19 epidemic, and its worst-ever terrorist assault, Ardern, 42, claimed she no longer had “enough in the tank” to remain in her role.
Ardern has “experienced a degree of hostility and vitriol” that was “unprecedented in our country,” according to former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Her successor has served in parliament for more than 14 years and is widely regarded as a reliable choice. Hipkins has been characterized as “intelligent, personable, tough, and capable” by political journalist Josie Pagani.
The primary opposition National Party of the nation made no immediate comment in response to Hipkins’ selection.
The right-wing ACT Party criticized his party’s record on the number of welfare claimants, rising food costs, and a tight labor market and encouraged him to “deliver on substance instead than dusting New Zealand with fluff.”
In order to “end poverty, take aggressive climate action, and conserve our natural wildlife,” the Green Party said it was looking forward to working with him.
Hipkins’ appointment has put an end to rumors that Kiri Allan, a leading Maori MP for Labour, would become the nation’s first Maori prime minister.
According to a Horizon Research quick poll that local media outlet Stuff acquired on Friday, Hipkins was the most well-liked probable candidate among voters, with support from 26% of those questioned.
Based on data collected prior to Ardern’s resignation announcement, a Taxpayers’ Union-Curia survey issued on Friday revealed a decline in support for Labour to 31.7 percent, with 37.2 percent of respondents siding with the National Party.