Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern[1] (/əˈsɪndə ɑːrˈdɜːrn/ jə-SIN-də ar-DURN;[2] born 26 July 1980) is a New Zealand politician who served as the 40th prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party from 2017 to 2023. A member of the Labour Party, she has been the member of Parliament (MP) for Mount Albert since 2017.[3]

Jacinda Ardern
Ardern in 2018
40th Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
26 October 2017  25 January 2023
Preceded byBill English
Succeeded byChris Hipkins
17th Leader of the Labour Party
In office
1 August 2017  22 January 2023
DeputyKelvin Davis
Preceded byAndrew Little
Succeeded byChris Hipkins
36th Leader of the Opposition
In office
1 August 2017  26 October 2017
DeputyKelvin Davis
Preceded byAndrew Little
Succeeded byBill English
17th Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
7 March 2017  1 August 2017
LeaderAndrew Little
Preceded byAnnette King
Succeeded byKelvin Davis
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mount Albert
Assumed office
8 March 2017
Preceded byDavid Shearer
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for the Labour party list
In office
8 November 2008  8 March 2017
Succeeded byRaymond Huo
Personal details
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern

(1980-07-26) 26 July 1980 (age 42)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Domestic partnerClarke Gayford (2013–present)
Alma materUniversity of Waikato (BComm)

Born in Hamilton, Ardern grew up in Morrinsville and Murupara. She joined the Labour Party at the age of 17. After graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, Ardern worked as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark. She later worked in London as an adviser in the Cabinet Office during Tony Blair's premiership. In 2008, Ardern was elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth. Ardern was first elected as an MP in the 2008 general election, when Labour lost power after nine years. She was later elected to represent the Mount Albert electorate in a by-election on 25 February 2017.

Ardern was unanimously elected as deputy leader of the Labour Party on 1 March 2017, after the resignation of Annette King. Exactly five months later, with an election due, Labour's leader Andrew Little resigned after a historically low opinion polling result for the party, with Ardern elected unopposed as leader in his place.[4] Labour's support increased rapidly after Ardern became leader, and she led her party to gain 14 seats at the 2017 general election on 23 September, winning 46 seats to the National Party's 56.[5] After negotiations, New Zealand First chose to enter a minority coalition government with Labour, supported by the Green Party, with Ardern as prime minister. She was sworn in by the governor-general on 26 October 2017.[6] She became the world's youngest female head of government at age 37.[7] Ardern gave birth to her daughter on 21 June 2018, making her the world's second elected head of government to give birth while in office (after Benazir Bhutto).[8]

Ardern describes herself as a social democrat and a progressive.[9][10] The Sixth Labour Government has faced challenges from the New Zealand housing crisis, child poverty, and social inequality. In March 2019, in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, Ardern reacted by rapidly introducing strict gun laws, winning her wide recognition.[11] Throughout 2020 she led New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for which she won praise for New Zealand being one of the few Western nations to successfully contain the virus.[12] It is estimated that her government's actions saved as many as 80,000 lives.[13] Ardern moved the Labour Party further to the centre towards the October 2020 general election, promising to cut spending during the remainder of the COVID-19 recession.[14] She led the Labour Party to a landslide victory, gaining an overall majority of 65 seats in Parliament, the first time a majority government had been formed since the introduction of a proportional representation system in 1996.[15][16][17]

On 19 January 2023, Ardern announced she would resign as Labour leader and prime minister, pending a leadership election.[18][19][20] Following the unopposed election of Chris Hipkins as her successor, she resigned as leader of the Labour Party on 22 January and submitted her resignation as prime minister to the governor-general on 25 January.[21]

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