NZ Labour lawmakers meet to confirm Chris Hipkins as Jacinda Ardern replacement

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Hipkins, 44, was the only nominee for the job and his confirmation by the 64 lawmakers, known as the Labor caucus, is largely a formality.

Hipkins said Saturday that he had the support of his colleagues to take the job.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday, Ardern said she had “no more left in the tank” to lead the country and would step down.

First elected to parliament for the Labor Party in 2008, Hipkins became a household name in the face of the government’s response to the pandemic. He was appointed minister of health in July 2020 before becoming minister of the response to COVID at the end of the year.

Hipkins is holding a press conference after his confirmation as leader and there he is expected to announce a new Deputy Prime Minister. Hipkins said on Saturday that Grant Robertson, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is likely to keep the job of Minister of Finance.

Before Hipkins officially becomes Prime Minister, Ardern must hand in her resignation to King Charles III’s representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Cindy Kiro. After that, Kiro appoints Hipkins to the role and will take the oath.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by David Gregorio)

By Lucy Craymer

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