New Zealand’s Prime Minister Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern yesterday dropped a bombshell by announcing her decision to step down in a few weeks’ time as Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Affectionately known to Niueans as the ‘daughter of Niue’, the news of her announcement shocked New Zealanders and felt deeply here in Niue, a realm nation of New Zealand.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi this afternoon in a statement thanked Prime Minister Ardern for her leadership and service. “Fakaaue lahi mahaki to Prime Minister Ardern for her leadership in service to the people of Aotearoa, Niue, and our Pacific. She leaves behind a legacy of true leadership, strength, compassion, and grace through multiple historic crises that she dealt with during her term”
“On behalf of the people of Niue, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the support and assistance Niue received from Aotearoa New Zealand during her five years of leadership,” said Tagelagi
Prime Minister Ardern’s links to Niue is through her parent, Ross and Laurel Ardern who lived and worked here for several years. Ross Ardern is a former Niue Chief of Police and later returned as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Niue.
It was reported by New Zealand media last year when Prime Minister Ardern revealed her father’s fight with cancer, so for many Niueans shocking and sad as it may be, her decision to step down made sense because she wanted to spend time with her family. Her parents are well-regarded in Niue and made many lifelong friends on the island.
Hon. O’love Jacobsen told BCN News “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be remembered as a leader who connects well with people from all walks of life.
Jacobsen said “She was raised well, a young woman leading a country is impressive, it sets her as a wonderful role model for women because she leads with integrity for her people and not for personal gains.
Minister of Natural Resources and one of only three women parliamentarians in Niue, Hon. Mona Esa Ainuu said that Arden is a progressive global icon and she will be missed by women parliamentarians when she steps down from parliament in April.
In a statement, Minister Ainuu said “ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern successfully led NZ in some of the most difficult periods in its history. As a female politician and leader, she has inspired all of us to do what we can, with the opportunity provided, and to be equal in every way.
I remembered one of the things she was asked about, was what will happen if she got pregnant. She rose above those earlier criticism and did it her way. She was very in touch with what is needed, and never a gap between her and the people, irrespective of their beliefs and opinions”
A former neighbour of her parents Noeline Pasisi on social media said “A most extraordinarily, humble, sincere, caring and most capable leader that we could ever have had, at such unbelievably trying and unprecedented times our nation, and indeed the world has had in recent times.
Thank you very much, and I do pray and hope your retirement from this stressful position, will bring about a raft of other opportunities that I’m sure NZ will benefit from, along with your family and friends. May God bless you in abundance.”
Greg Harding wrote “Made a huge statement that women too, can lead a country”
Ardern said that after nearly 6 years in the role, she felt it was time for her. “I am human. We give as much as we can for as long as we can and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time”.
O’love Jacobsen reflects on the benefits to Pacific people in New Zealand which she said was the best ever during Arden’s time as Prime Minister when she offered an official apology on behalf of the government for the dawn raids on Pasifika homes in the 60s and 70s. A time that scared and scarred generations of Pasifika people, it was Jacinda’s humility and respect for Pasifika people that is restoring and rebuilding that relationship and trust.
Minister Mona Ainuu said, “I extend my deepest appreciation and Fakaue Lahi Mahaki to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for her compassion to support Niue, and I hope the next Prime Minister of New Zealand will have the same consideration.”
Prime Minister Ardern said that she is looking forward to spending more time with her family.