New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her shock resignation, saying she no longer “has enough in the tank” to continue in the role.
"Today I am announcing I will not be seeking re-election and my term as prime minister will conclude no later than the 7th of February,” an emotional Ms Ardern said.
"This has been the most fulfilling five and a half years of my life, but it has also had its challenges. I am not leaving because it was hard, if that was the case I probably would've departed two months into the job... I know what this job takes, and I know I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. I would be doing a disservice to continue."
Ms Ardern said the Labour party would elect a new leader by the weekend but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson would not be a candidate.
The bombshell announcement came in Napier at the party's year-starting caucus retreat.
Ms Ardern was expected to announce an election date – which she did, for October 14 – but shocked all-comers by declaring her exit from politics.
She said she left without regrets, offering a simple way she would like to be remembered.
"As someone who always tried to be kind," she said.
Ms Ardern also addressed her family; her fiance Clarke Gayford and four-year-old daughter Neve.
"Neve, mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year," she said. "And to Clarke - let's finally get married."
World reacts to resignation
Australia's PM Anthony Albanese sent a message of support to his Kiwi counterpart, praising her time as a leader.
"Jacinda Ardern has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength," he wrote. "She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities. Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me."
Jacinda Ardern has shown the world how to lead with intellect and strength.
She has demonstrated that empathy and insight are powerful leadership qualities.
Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to so many and a great friend to me. pic.twitter.com/QJ64mNCJMI
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 19, 2023
Live-streaming the announcement on her official Facebook page, the PM's news was met with shock from New Zealand residents.
"You have been a class act. You deserve time with the family," one wrote.
"Sad news. Thank you for everything you've done under the hardest of circumstances. Good luck for the future and enjoy spending time with your family," another said.
- with AAP
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