New Delhi: Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Thursday (January 19, 2023) heaped praise on New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, hours after she announced that she is stepping down as her country’s leader.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Ramesh, the Congress general secretary, said, “Legendary cricket commentator, Vijay Merchant once said about retiring at the peak of his career: Go when people ask why is he going instead of why isn’t he going. Kiwi PM, Jacinda Ardern has just said she is quitting following Merchant’s maxim.”
“Indian politics needs more like her,” he added.
Legendary cricket commentator, Vijay Merchant once said about retiring at the peak of his career:Go when people ask why is he going instead of why isn’t he going. Kiwi PM, Jacinda Ardern has just said she is quitting following Merchant’s maxim. Indian politics needs more like her
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) January 19, 2023
‘For me, it’s time’: Jacinda Ardern to step down as New Zealand PM
Earlier in the day, in what came as a shock to many people, Jacinda Ardern said that she had “no more in the tank” to continue leading New Zealand and would step down no later than early February and not seek re-election.
Ardern told reporters that February 7 will be her last day in office and said that she will hold her seat as a lawmaker until the general election, which she said would be held on October 14.
Holding back tears, the 42-year-old leader said that it had been a tough five and a half years as prime minister and that she was only human and needed to step aside.
“This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term – because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that,” she told a news conference.
“I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so called ‘real’ reason was… The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human,” Ardern added.
“Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time,” the New Zealand Labour party leader said.
Ardern said she was not stepping down because the job was hard, but because she believed others could do a better job.
Jacinda Ardern became world’s youngest female head of government in 2017
Jacinda Ardern made global headlines in 2017 when she became the world’s youngest female head of government at age 37. read more
Riding a wave of “Jacinda-mania,” she campaigned passionately for women’s rights, and an end to child poverty and economic inequality in the country.
Eight months after becoming New Zealand PM. she became the second elected leader to give birth while in office, after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto.
Many saw Ardern as part of wave of progressive female leaders, including Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Her empathetic leadership style was cemented by her response to the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019 that killed 51 people injured 40.
Ardern swiftly labelled the attacks “terrorism” and wore a hijab as she met with the Muslim community a day after the attack, the nation’s worst mass-shooting.
She also won plaudits across the political spectrum for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the country face some of the strictest measures globally but resulted in one of the lowest death tolls.