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HomeBreaking NewsChris Hipkins to be New Zealand's next prime minister

Chris Hipkins to be New Zealand’s next prime minister

'Quick read' news summary

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Education Minister Chris Hipkins is set to become New Zealand’s next prime minister after he was the only candidate to enter the contest Saturday to replace Jacinda Ardern.

Hipkins, 44, must still garner an endorsement Sunday from his Labour Party colleagues, but that is just a formality now. An official transfer of power will come in the days to follow.

“It’s a big day for a boy from the Hutt,” Hipkins said, referring to the Hutt Valley near Wellington where he grew up. “I’m really humbled and really proud to be taking this on. It is the biggest responsibility and the biggest privilege of my life.”

Ardern shocked the nation of 5 million people on Thursday when she announced she was resigning after five-and-a-half years in the top role.

The lack of other candidates indicated party lawmakers had rallied behind Hipkins to avoid a drawn-out contest and any sign of disunity following Ardern’s departure.

Hipkins will have only a little more than eight months in the role before contesting a general election. Opinion polls have indicated that Labour is trailing its main opponent, the conservative National Party.

Hipkins rose to public prominence during the coronavirus pandemic, when he took on a kind of crisis management role. But he and other liberals have long been in the shadow of Ardern, who became a global icon of the left and exemplified a new style of leadership.

Just 37 when she became leader, Ardern was praised around the world for her handling of the nation’s worst-ever

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Education Minister Chris Hipkins is set to become New Zealand's next prime minister after he was the only candidate to enter the contest Saturday to replace Jacinda Ardern. Hipkins, 44, must still garner an endorsement Sunday from his Labour Party colleagues, but that is just a formality now. “It's a big day for a boy from the Hutt,” Hipkins said, referring to the Hutt Valley near Wellington where he grew up.

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