Chris Hopkins has been chosen to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand’s prime minister – and sworn in after she resigned last week.
Mr. Hopkins, fondly known as “Chippy.” Unanimous support of politicians He was the only candidate from the Labor Party when he was in the running to become its next leader.
He then plays the role. Ms Ardern resigned. As Labor leader and prime minister – saying he no longer had “enough in the tank” to do justice to the job.
Mr Hopkins will have less than nine months to run in a tight general election, with opinion polls showing his party trailing the conservative opposition.
Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Hopkins is not yet a household name. Here’s everything we know about New Zealand’s new prime minister.
Hopkins and the Epidemic
Mr Hopkins, 44, became well known for championing the government’s response to the pandemic in New Zealand, appearing regularly at daily televised news conferences.
He was appointed Minister of Health in July 2020, a role he held until June 2022, before becoming the COVID Response Minister later in the year.
New Zealand’s tough COVID restrictions, which included closing the border and locking down the country when the number of cases dropped, won the government praise in the early days of the virus.
Globally, Ms Ardern has received much praise. But his successor clearly played a more detailed role in his reign.
It is worth noting that New Zealand’s strict COVID restrictions became less popular as the pandemic spread..
This is partly because the Labor Party is now facing tough polling numbers in the country, with political opponents blaming the COVID laws for holding back the economy.
Other Roles in Parliament
Mr Hopkins has worn many hats since entering Parliament in 2008.
He became education spokesman in 2013 and has served as education minister since forming a Labor government in 2017.
He became Minister of Police in mid-2022 as the country faced rising crime rates, and has served as Minister of Public Service as well as Leader of the House.
The new Labor leader and prime minister will have to work quickly to find alternatives to their responsibilities as they adjust to their new roles.
Viral TV Gaffes.
The incoming PM is known for his sense of humor and self-deprecation.
When New Zealand was in nationwide lockdown in August 2021, Mr Hopkins went viral for a gaffe on live TV when he urged people to get out and “stretch their legs” instead of stretching their legs.
He later appeared at a news conference drinking from a mug that read “Spread your legs, not the virus”.
He is also known for his love of Coke Zero and sausage rolls, with sausage roll birthday cakes from parliamentary colleagues once making headlines at home and abroad.
Jacinda Ardern’s advice to Chris Hopkins
At Ms Ardern’s final appearance as prime minister, she told reporters she could only give her successor one piece of advice: “You do.”
“It’s for him now. It’s for him to carve out his own place to be the kind of leader he is,” Ms Ardern said.
“Actually, I can’t really give any advice. I can share information, share experiences, but that’s it for now.”
What Mr. Hopkins has said about his predecessor.
Mr Hopkins called Ms Ardern one of New Zealand’s greatest prime ministers and an inspiration for women and girls.
“He gave a voice to people who are often ignored in times of challenge and deliberately thought about doing politics differently,” he said.
But some of the hate Ms Ardern has faced during her tenure is a reminder that “we have a way to go to ensure that women in leadership are as respected as their male counterparts”.
Family Life of Mr. Hopkins
Speaking at a news conference announcing his appointment, Mr Hopkins said he would keep his family “completely out of the limelight” after witnessing public scrutiny of Ms Ardern’s family.
He said he and his wife separated a year ago but remained “incredibly close” and were raising their two children together.
Mr Hopkins extended his parental leave after the birth of his second child in 2018, one of the first male cabinet ministers to do so.
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